Rental Walkthrough Checklist – What To Look For When Your Renters Are Moving In and Out

If you’ve ever rented before, you know about walkthroughs. As a landlord a walkthrough is for each, and below will be a checklist to use when doing them.

Walkthrough by both landlord and tenant at lease and end of lease

A walkthrough is something done by both landlord and tenant at the time the property is leased, and when the lease is over and the tenant is moving out. It’s an inspection of the property.

At the beginning of the lease it is done to have Rental Walkthrough Checklist - What To Look For When Your Renters Are Moving In and Outboth parties on the same page about the condition of the property before it is inhabited. A checklist should be done and signed by landlord and tenant, and pictures of EVERYTHING should be taken by both parties.

At the end of the lease the landlord is looking for damage or illegal alterations to the property, (illegal meaning not approved by the landlord in writing), per the lease. Damage is considered anything in excess of normal wear and tear.

Again, a checklist should be filled out and signed by both parties and another set of pictures of EVERYTHING should be taken by both parties. Pictures are taken at both times by both parties so in case there is a need for proof in a dispute over how much of the security deposit is withheld by the landlord at the end of the lease.

The walkthrough is done so the landlord can determine if damage has been done to the unit that would allow for deductions to be taken from the tenant’s security deposit. It either allows the tenant, if done prior to move out, to fix items to keep deductions at a minimum, and/or lets the landlord know what must be fixed before the next tenant moves into the property. Not all states require it, but as a general rule, it is a good idea, required or not, so you have documentation of damages and property condition.

As a landlord a walkthrough will give you a few benefits. It will allow you to determine repairs and anticipate costs. It will actually help you avoid disputes with the tenant because both are aware of condition before and after the tenancy and also allows the tenant to do the repairs to mitigate their loss in security deposit, saving you the cost after they move out.

Now onto the checklist:


Is there adequate parking near the property for tenant and guests? Is it assigned or first-come, first served?
Is the exterior lighting adequate? Are common areas well lit?
Are there elevators and do they work? Are stairways well lit and secure?
Are common entrances locked and if so, how is access granted: doorbell, buzzer, security camera, call phone?
Are locks in good working order? Will they be changed out before move in?
Do doors open and shut easily? Are they heavy enough for safety, but not so heavy they are hard to open? Is there a way to look out before opening (i.e. a peephole or a way to view outside)?


Is the property clean?
Are the ceilings and walls in good repair? Is paint fresh (i.e. no peeling or marks on walls or ceilings)? Are there nail holes in the walls? Any signs of water damage or mold? Any cracks in drywall or plaster?
Are there enough closets and are they large enough for storage? Is there any kind of organization system in closets? Is there a lockable outside storage area?
Is flooring in good repair? Are carpets frayed or dirty? Is hardwood scratched or water stained? Is tile chipped, cracked or uneven?
Are kitchen and bathroom cabinets in good repair? Do they open easily? Is all hardware there? Are they straight and installed correctly? Is interior shelving in place?
Bathroom and kitchen sinks, tubs and wall tile are in place, sturdy, grout is clean and complete? Tile isn’t chipped?
Does water drain quickly in all sinks and tubs and showers? Is water clean and has it been tested? Do water temps and pressure stay consistent even if more than one is running at a time? Does the toilet work properly and is it clean?
Do all electrical outlets and switches work? Are any buzzing, have char marks or are hot to the touch? Where is the circuit breaker and does it have any of the same issues?
Do windows open? Are glass and screens intact? Are window coverings in good shape?
Is there a washer and dryer available in the unit? Does it work?
Does the heating and air conditioning system work?
Does each room have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, per state law?
Can you get cell reception? What about landlines? Is there hook ups for cable/satellite/internet available?
Is there overhead lighting and does it work?
Do all appliances work? Are they clean?

Be smart and cover your bases. Do walkthroughs and be thorough.

How The Recent Tax Changes Affect Your 1031 Exchange

You’ve heard of 1031 real estate exchanges and aren’t sure what they are. Now tax reform has been passed and you wonder if 1031 exchanges are affected. So let’s look at before and after to see if it will help you get a handle on the whole thing.

A 1031 exchange is an exchange of property

How The Recent Tax Changes Affect Your 1031 ExchangeBasically, a 1031 exchange is an exchange of property that falls under Section 1031 of the tax code. Real estate is a big part of this.

Typically, when a person sells a piece of property they will owe taxes on whatever money they realize as a gain. A gain is the difference between what you paid for a piece of property and what you sold it for, less certain allowed deductions. The tax on this is called capital gains. Most people will avoid paying capital gains by taking that money gained on the sale and purchasing another property. That’s the typical scenario.

Sometimes, however, you can trade one property for another and defer the capital gains on the transfer. Deferred isn’t avoiding paying the tax, it’s just putting it off. The property exchange can include just the real estate, or it can include cash, relief from debt and other kinds of property that isn’t real estate. The simplest type of Section 1031 exchange is a simultaneous swap of one property for another. Obviously, they can be much more complex. But this is basically what a 1031 exchange is.

Now that tax relief has been passed by Congress, there are some changes to Section 1031. In fact, the ability to defer capital gains taxes using 1031 exchanges of real property was not changed at all. That’s good news, to a point. That property swap is safe, but swaps that include other types of property are not.

The new tax law repeals 1031 exchanges for all other types of property that are not real property. This means 1031 exchanges of personal property will no longer be permitted beginning this year.

The changes also affect investment property owners and deducting net interest expense

Property owners must elect out of the new interest disallowance tax rules. There is a new interest limit which applies to existing debt. It also continues the current depreciation rules for real estate, which is very important for investment property owners. The only difference is that the depreciation is over a longer period: 40 years for a nonresidential property, 30 years for a residential rental property, and 20 years for qualified interior improvements.

Use a professional for 1031 exchanges

Both before the changes and after, 1031 exchanges are something that you shouldn’t be attempting without the help of a professional who truly understands how the law works and doesn’t. Most Realtors have a good handle on 1031 exchange basics. If it’s something you’re interested in doing, be sure to question prospective Realtors about their experience with these types of property transfers. If it’s something they have done enough to mean that their experience is appropriate for your needs, take the questions to the next step. Ask if they are familiar enough with changes to Section 1031 exchanges under the new tax relief bill.

If you have your heart set on a Realtor not familiar with 1031 exchanges and the tax law effects, consider hiring an attorney who specializes in real estate or tax law. The last thing you want to have happen is you trade homes thinking you are saving on taxes now, only to find you did it wrong and have to pay a huge capital gains tax that you can’t afford. As we all know, the IRS will not hesitate to put a lien on that traded house you now own if you can’t pony up the tax bill.

Don’t take a chance with your finances and home. Do your homework, ask lots of questions and be careful.

When Is The Right Time For Investors To Hire A Property Manager

You have already made the smart decision to be a real estate investor, and that at some point you’ll need a property manager. Now it’s time to figure out when the best time to start using the services of a property manager. Do you want to start with one from the get go, or do you want to manage the property yourself for a bit and do it later? The answer to that will depend on a few considerations.

The first is how many properties do you have?

When Is The Right Time For Investors To Hire A Property ManagerIf it’s just one, you may want to wait a bit before starting with a property manager. This is especially true if you are in the same location as your property and the property is well maintained. In this case the cost may outweigh the benefit.

However, if this is your second or third or more it would probably be the right time. If you have a lot of properties you will benefit from what the property management company will be able to provide.

Multiple units means that you won’t have the time to be sure that you have good tenants and well maintained properties. You may be able to get rents collected, but it is doubtful that you have your own system to take automatic payments.

What about the knowledge and time it takes to evict a bad tenant?

If you have one or more properties and you live at least an hour or more away from them, you need a property management company.

That “hey, my heat is out” midnight call will be even more annoying to both you and your tenant if it takes you until 2 or 3 in the morning to even get there to see what is going on.

Then what if you don’t know who to call in the area to fix it? The same goes for evicting a bad tenant from a long distance away, or finding a new tenant from that same distance away. It is all made that much more difficult, so why try when someone who knows the area, has contractors on hand to make repairs and knows the local landlord tenant law?

Another consideration is how busy your life is and how well you can handle the added burden of taking care of your property or properties. If you think it would be too much, why not hire a property management company? They will take that burden from your shoulders, leaving you to handle your daytime job or the other businesses, as well as your family.

Part of this consideration is your desire to be a hands-on landlord. If you don’t, then you need to hire someone to do it for you. What you may not realize is if you do become “hands-on” you’ll become an employer and have all of the headaches that entails.

Last consideration is whether your property is, or will be, part of a state or federal affordable housing program. These programs can have complicated requirements and dealing with tenants in this kind of program can be a minefield that could get you in a lot of hot water.

Typically, these programs involve the landlord receiving financial assistance, like a grant or low interest loan in return for a guaranty that they will rent at least part of the property to tenants earning below a certain income level. Also under this type of consideration is all of the different fair housing laws. Do you know what they are? Do you know what it means to violate them? Do you know what it will cost you if you violate them? These are also very complicated laws and regulations and one misstep could cost you thousands of dollars or more.

Making the decision to hire a professional to help you with your investment properties will vary but keeping the above in mind will help you make the right decision at the right time.

Looking to hire an amazing Denver Property Management Company? Give us a call today for a free quote! 303-452-5853

5 Ways A Property Manager Can Save You Money

5 Ways A Property Manager Can Save You Money

Congratulations! You jumped into being an investment property owner. Great decision. Now time to make another great decision… hire a property manager. Yes, you’ll have to pay a fee to them to manage your property, or even properties, but in the long run doing so will save you a lot of money. Here’s how:

The first and best way to save you money

The first and best way a property manager can not only save you money, but help you make more money is to keep the time your property is vacant to a minimum.

Empty properties are money vampires. Not to mention the costs of cleaning, changing locks, fixing damage and wear and tear and marketing the property when it is unrented. You are spending money to maintain it, paying taxes on it and probably mortgage payments on it all while there is absolutely no income to offset those costs.

A good property manager or management company will have a pool of prospective, prescreened and prequalified renters that they can contact to rent your property. Since part of our job is to keep your property well maintained, your tenants will be happy and less likely to leave in the first place.

Finds you high quality tenants

Another way we keep it rented is by finding your higher quality tenants. Bad tenants are a nightmare not just for the aggravation, but also for the expenses of unpaid rent, costs to evict them and any damage to the property. They can suck money right out of your wallet. It’s almost worse than a vacant property.

A property manager will vet prospective tenants for you. They will thoroughly check them out, including a criminal background check, verification of employment and review of his or her rental history. They will know the right questions to ask their employer and previous landlords to get the answers needed to screen them in or out.

Have you ever heard of “professional tenants”? They are scammers who get into the property, never pay rent and make it incredibly hard to evict them because they file lawsuits claiming discrimination.

Property managers are used to looking for this and weeding them out. Not to mention that they do know the Fair Housing laws and will be sure not to violate them.

Property management and maintenance and repairs

Repairs and maintenance can be expensive. A property manager can seriously save you some money. If they have their own maintenance crew, that is a huge help. Often, their services are included in your monthly fees, saving you this expense altogether. If they don’t, or the job is bigger or more extensive than maintenance staff can handle, the property manager will have a network of licensed, bonded and insured contractors.

Since we deal in volume, we can usually secure reduced rates for the contractor’s services.

Now onto the actual money to be made

A property manager will have an established and successful rent collection process. Live by the rule that if you give a tenant an inch they will take a mile.

Remember that you need a consistent cash flow and while life happens, it shouldn’t happen to your bottom line. The best part is that the property manager is the one that has to hear the sob stories, not you! They are much better at being impervious to the drama and enforcing the lease.

Let’s not forget the lease itself

They will have a standard lease they successfully use with their managed properties. One less thing to worry about! The property manager will get it signed and handle renewals of the lease.

This is important because if the lease isn’t renewed, but the tenant holds over, they become a month to month tenant. That will cause its own raft of problems. They will make sure it is enforced, and also make sure the lease doesn’t violate any laws.


Lastly, we will handle any necessary inspections. In order to maintain your property someone needs to regularly inspect it. Any small issues will be caught and fixed before they become big, more expensive ones. These inspections are part of your monthly fee and will save a lot of money in repairs.

Save some money!

So save yourself a bucket of cash and hire a property manager. It will be the second best decision you will make as an investment property owner.

5 Ways A Property Manager Can Save You Money...Congratulations! You jumped into being an investment property owner. Great decision. Now time to make another great decision... hire a property manager.

Why Boulder Is The Hottest Real Estate Market In The Denver Metro Area

Why Boulder Is The Hottest Real Estate Market In The Denver Metro AreaBoulder, Colorado. This beautiful, mountainous area has become quite hot for real estate in the Denver metro area.

Located about 30 to 40 minutes from Denver, it’s the perfect place for those who want to be close to the city for work but live out where you can see gorgeous mountain views, flatirons and not worry about construction messing up either.

Being a hot market means homes are more expensive to purchase, but also more lucrative to own and sell.

The City of Boulder is protective of its citizenry and reputation. They don’t allow clubs or restaurants to remain open late to keep noise at a minimum. It’s also a college town, so protecting the students is also important.

Beautiful views

Boulder also has amazing bike paths, gorgeous vistas of wide-open spaces and incredible trails. This is all while being in close proximity to a large city. There is a huge park in Boulder with huge rocks called the Flatirons. perfect for a newbie rock climber.

The weather is great too!

Since it’s really a semi arid area, snow and rain are minimal so beautiful weather reigns. Warm summers and winters that are usually not close to frigid are common. With all that beautiful weather spending time close by nature is easily accomplished. Lots of waterfowl, eagles, and other wildlife. It’s an amazing place to go rock climbing and bouldering and hiking and skiing isn’t too far away. If you like other sports like sailplaning or hang gliding, or even ultralight flying.

Some complain about the lack of diversity and conservative politics, but don’t let that stop you. Things like that are fluid, and with all the other pluses, why let that be a sticking point?

Come see Boulder and see what you think. You won’t be disappointed!