We’re often asked if there is a difference in the home inspection done for an investor (rental property) versus an inspection done for an owner (principal residence).
The short answer is “no”.
However when we know that the property will be a rental unit, we make a point of always emphasizing to the investor the following issues.
- If the house shows pride of ownership, then the home will never look as good again as it does now. Painful but true. Generally renters have less motivation than owners for timely maintenance and repairs. An experienced investor knows this and has no emotional attachment to the purchase. For a novice investor, this is somewhat harder to accept.
- Safety issues become paramount. Expired smoke detectors, missing carbon monoxide sensors, need for inspection and servicing of all gas and wood burning appliances before move-in, missing or inadequate handrails, loose steps, inoperable auto-reverse on garage door openers, cracks in pathways that can trip, rotten fence posts that can easily collapse, laundry chutes from the second floor to the laundry room where a child can enter and become lodged, exposed shock hazards, exterior doors and windows that do not lock, …the list goes on.
- A rental property that needs a mortgage will typically trigger the mortgage lender or insurance provider to do their own inspection. These type of issues are also highlighted.
In the final analysis, the post-inspection ‘to-do’ list should be identical for either an investor or a home buyer. In reality, the home buyer may choose to accept some level of risk for various reasons. On the other hand, an investor cannot ignore important issues, especially safety concerns, and the repair-replace-correct action should be done prior to any tenancy.