THERE ARE MANY AR­EAS of your prop­erty man­age­ment busi­ness that need to work smoothly and ef­fi­ciently to en­able you to keep your clients – both land­lords and ten­ants – happy. One of these ar­eas is prop­erty in­spec­tions. Fiona McEachran talks to some ex­perie

Elite Property Manager - - Con­tents - Fiona McEachran

THEY ARE A crit­i­cal part of the job of a prop­erty man­ager, but both the ac­tual in­spec­tion and all the ad­min­is­tra­tive work it en­tails can be very time-con­sum­ing.

What in­spec­tions do prop­erty man­agers need to con­duct?

An in­spec­tion needs to be done when a land­lord’s prop­erty is ap­praised or taken on to be man­aged, just be­fore a ten­ant moves in, on a reg­u­lar ba­sis while ten­anted and, espe­cially, when the ten­ant moves out.

Karen Ge­orge is a Con­sole Gate­wayLive client, Prop­erty Man­age­ment Direc­tor at Richard­son & Wrench Ca­bool­ture in Queens­land and win­ner of the R&W Prop­erty Man­ager of the Year award in 2014. She ex­plains the four dif­fer­ent types of in­spec­tions that her of­fice con­ducts: • Ap­praisal In­spec­tion • En­try In­spec­tion • Rou­tine In­spec­tion • Va­cate In­spec­tion

Ap­praisal In­spec­tion: This is the first type of in­spec­tion, when the prop­erty man­ager goes out to a prop­erty to con­duct an ap­praisal and de­ter­mine what rent should be set. They take along a check­list

de­tail­ing what they need to look at to as­sess the prop­erty, as well as a list­ing form and a man­age­ment pack, which in­cludes a break­down of their ser­vices and prices.

En­try In­spec­tion: This is the sec­ond in­spec­tion, and it is per­formed with a lot more at­ten­tion to de­tail. The prop­erty man­ager uses a de­tailed check­list and re­port to go over the prop­erty and takes pho­to­graphs so that the land­lord and ten­ant can agree on the ex­act con­di­tion of the home at the mo­ment that the new ten­ant moves in.

Rou­tine In­spec­tion: In Karen’s of­fice, her team agrees the date of the first rou­tine in­spec­tion with the new ten­ant when he or she signs the lease. This sets the ex­pec­ta­tion with the ten­ant of their re­spon­si­bil­ity to look af­ter the prop­erty and re­port any main­te­nance is­sues as they arise.

Their rou­tine in­spec­tions are then car­ried out on Tues­days; they are split into zones, so that each zone is cov­ered ev­ery three months.

Va­cate In­spec­tion: This is also called an Exit In­spec­tion, and Karen’s team does this once the ten­ant has moved out of the prop­erty. This is to en­sure that the prop­erty is in a sim­i­lar state to when the ten­ant moved in. If the prop­erty is not in a sim­i­lar con­di­tion the ten­ant may have to get some work done, in­clud­ing ad­di­tional clean­ing or pos­si­ble re­pairs.

When do rou­tine in­spec­tions need to be done?

Rou­tine In­spec­tions are usu­ally car­ried out ev­ery three months; in some states they can­not be done more fre­quently than that. Ten­ants need to be given a min­i­mum of seven days’ writ­ten no­tice.

How are in­spec­tions per­formed?

There are many el­e­ments re­quired to min­imise the time spent on in­spec­tions. Con­duct­ing and record­ing the process cor­rectly can also help with any dis­putes

or is­sues that may arise be­tween the land­lord and the ten­ant.

In­spec­tions can be car­ried out man­u­ally, us­ing a note­book and/or a check­list with a pen; they can also be per­formed us­ing the lat­est tech­nol­ogy – an iPhone or iPad tablet. This is where Con­sole’s Gate­wayLive in­spec­tion app – LiveA­gent – re­ally comes in handy, sav­ing time and money.

What is LiveA­gent?

LiveA­gent is the prop­erty in­spec­tions app, avail­able on both iPhone and iPad, which syn­chro­nises with Con­sole’s Gate­wayLive prop­erty man­age­ment soft­ware to make in­spec­tions faster and eas­ier. The app is free to Gate­wayLive sub­scribers and is the only app on the mar­ket with true two-way in­te­gra­tion.

How does LiveA­gent make in­spec­tions sim­ple?

The app has re­cently been re-built from the ground up with prop­erty man­agers’ needs in mind. You can cre­ate and set up in­spec­tion tem­plates based on the size of the prop­erty you need to in­spect – one bed, two bed, three bed, four bed, and more. You can cre­ate as many tem­plates as you need and open them quickly and eas­ily within the app.

You will also be able to see your in­spec­tions colour-coded to match the in­spec­tion type you need to do – En­try, Rou­tine or Exit.

Can LiveA­gent re­duce the time it takes to do in­spec­tions?

Be­fore you get go­ing, you can copy across past in­spec­tion data, so you can see what was writ­ten and doc­u­mented the last time you were in the prop­erty. This saves you hav­ing to ei­ther carry around the file or spend time look­ing back over pre­vi­ous notes and re­ports. Then, when you are out on the road, LiveA­gent dis­plays the up­com­ing in­spec­tions by time and date, for eas­ier fil­ter­ing and view­ing.

The in­te­grated Ap­ple Maps func­tion­al­ity also means you can get a bird’s eye view of the prop­er­ties sched­uled for in­spec­tion. Then you can plan your jour­ney more ef­fi­ciently, by de­cid­ing the or­der of prop­er­ties you will visit.

How will I get more done dur­ing the in­spec­tion?

While you in­spect the prop­erty, you can speak into your iPhone or iPad with the voice-to-text recog­ni­tion abil­ity (avail­able on cer­tain de­vices that have Sir­iTM and voice-to-text func­tion­al­ity), al­low­ing your com­ments on each room to be en­tered with speed.

You can save high res­o­lu­tion pho­tos for each area or room di­rectly onto your de­vice and sync back to Gate­wayLive to be at­tached to the con­di­tion re­port, but it is im­por­tant to keep in mind that you can­not take pho­tos of the prop­erty in­te­rior dur­ing a rou­tine in­spec­tion un­less you have the per­mis­sion of the ten­ant.

An­other great new fea­ture to help you get more done is the abil­ity to log main­te­nance re­quests di­rectly from the app that will sync with Gate­wayLive back in your of­fice.

Does the speed and pro­fes­sional re­port­ing of LiveA­gent im­press land­lords?

Zoe King is a Con­sole Gate­wayLive client who loves LiveA­gent. She is the Direc­tor of Prop­erty Man­age­ment for Hall & Hall Real Es­tate in Mt El­iza, Vic­to­ria.

When the prop­erty man­agers in her of­fice were do­ing in­spec­tions be­fore LiveA­gent, they were do­ing ev­ery­thing man­u­ally, us­ing tick sheets for doc­u­ment­ing their in­spec­tions. These check­lists would then sit in a pile in the of­fice for weeks, wait­ing to be typed up.

Now the notes are made di­rectly in the phone, trans­ferred to the com­puter, and then printed off and posted with a cover let­ter to the owner.

“The ef­fi­ciency is amaz­ing. Us­ing LiveA­gent is much more time-ef­fec­tive. We now send pro­fes­sional-look­ing, typed re­ports, with notes in­cluded for each room, straight to the own­ers within a day,” says Zoe.

“Also, send­ing pho­tos with the notes is very im­por­tant. Our own­ers can read about the main­te­nance is­sue and see a photo, so it has re­duced the num­ber of phone calls from own­ers who need more in­for­ma­tion.”


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