As an investment property owner, one of the biggest things affecting your profitability and cash flow is the expense and repair costs on the property you are renting. Everything does wear out eventually, and things need to be replaced. However, what you want to avoid most of all is damage caused by the resident. The best way to avoid this type of property damage is to adopt the philosophy that people will not do what you expect, they will do what you inspect. To us at Sarasota Management and Leasing, that means having feet on the ground and being present to do a property inspection once in a while.

One of the biggest mistakes property owners and managers make is to turn over the keys to a renter and then never show up again until the resident moves out a year or two later. The mistake is not checking the property periodically. Doing these regular inspections is critical for several reasons:

1. If they know you are checking the place, your residents will take better care of it. Your renters do not want you to find out they are not good housekeepers. When they know you will be checking up on the place, they will make sure it is in good condition.

2. Inspections provide documented evidence. Prior to move in, it is important to get a documented look at the condition of the property. This will save a lot of hassles at the end of the lease if there are disagreements over what was already broken, what was there and what wasn’t there, etc.

3. You can look for unreported maintenance. When you do periodic inspections, you can look for those things that might become worse and cause more damage and expenses down the road. For example, leaks in the sink, cracks in the shower grout or tile and other water problems can lead to bigger problems.

4. You can look for lease violations. When you are in the property regularly, you can check for unauthorized pets, or other people living there who are not on the lease. Having unauthorized people living in the property can cause major problems for you. For example, you might not know if someone living there has a criminal record if you did not include him in your background checks at the time of rental application. This can cause liability issues for you if he attacks someone or causes harm.

At Sarasota Management and Leasing, we always tell people that it is important to be there checking your investment and making sure people are doing what they say they are going to do when they sign the lease and move into your property. If there are any lease violations or property damage issues, take corrective action immediately. Your priority is to take care of problems before they become big and expensive. The last thing you want to do is get the keys back from your resident when they are moving out and finding thousands of dollars worth of damage. This will cause you to delay getting the property back on the rental market, and your income will be compromised.

This is an issue we feel strongly about. If you have any questions, or want more information, please visit us at We look forward to hearing from you.