How often should you be visiting your multi-family building? What should you be looking at during your visits?
Much of this depends on the location of the building compared to where you live and if you are self-managing or have a third-party property manager.
We use a third party property manager who visits the property on a regular basis. This manager drives by at least once a week. We drive by our properties every chance we get if we are in the neighborhood.
However, every year we’ll do a full inspection of the entire building and view every suite. We’ll look through the boiler/elevator rooms and laundry rooms. Typically, we are looking for leaky faucets and toilets, as the tenants rarely notify you. Looking for ceiling damage from water from the upper floors and the condition of which the tenants are treating your unit is a must.
It keeps your property manager on his or her toes and keeps your tenants under a watchful eye. The property manager benefits from this too, as they get to see all the suites with you.
We have a rating system that we use; if the building falls under a certain criterion of which we’d like to have the building look like, we’ll increase our frequency of full building inspections. We have a building in Edmonton, and while it shows well on the outside and the common areas, the tenant profile is not as rosy.
With this building, we double our inspections to once in the winter and once in the summer. We’re considering doing this every quarter if things don’t improve.
So essentially it depends on how feasible it is for you to go view the building and how your building performs. If there are continual issues, I would increase the frequency of inspections, so the tenants know you care about the building and you’re not going away until things improve.
~Domenic Mandato is President of InvestPlus Properties Canada. See www.InvestPlusProperties.com for more information.
I do a full suite by suite inspection of all my properties at least once per year accompanied by my property manager.
You should look at everything and train yourself to do so to detect anything that might be off.
I also do surprise visits alone from time to time without advance notice to my property manager. Then, I send him an email reporting items requiring corrective actions or improvements.
I usually have my ladder in my vehicle and I get up on the roof at least a couple of times every year, especially after a big rain fall. That way I can monitor how well water is draining and determine if action is required.
~ Pierre-Paul Turgeon is President of Matterhorn Real Estate Investments Ltd. See more about his 2.5 day hands on Multi-Family training at www.MultiFamilyBlueprint.com.