Touring The New Home

Before a prospect can move in, you need to do a pre-move-in inspection. #Multifamily property leasing maven Lori Hammond gives a detailed account of what to look for during the apartment inspection tour.

Preparing for the Move-In

When signing the lease, another important tour occurs—through their new apartment home. Regardless of how many times or the number of apartments the resident has visited the property, take the time to do one last thorough tour and inspection on move-in day. This will leave a lasting impression on your new resident.

Prior to the resident signing the lease, the leasing team should double-check to make sure all the keys are ready and functioning with their respective locks, including deadbolts, mailboxes, and storage areas. If the keys are not working properly, have maintenance adjust the keys and/or locks.

During the Pre-Move-in Inspection

  • Confirm the filter for the furnace/air-conditioner has been changed
  • Check all light bulbs for safety and functionality
  • Check the kitchen exhaust fan and filter in the range-hood
  • Test the central heating-and-air system to make sure it is functioning correctly
  • Test all stove burners and the oven
  • Test the garbage disposal
  • Make sure the apartment is free of any stale or unpleasant odors
  • Check every drawer and open every door, to ensure the apartment is move-in ready

No detail is too small.

No detail is too small. There are a number of features in the apartment that may have been turned off while the apartment was unoccupied. Set the water heater to the appropriate temperature, turn on the ice-maker, and stock up the toilet tissue in the bathroom and paper towels in the kitchen. Put some water or soda in the refrigerator to welcome your new residents with a nice surprise as they move in.

 

Tour of the New Home

Regardless of the number of visits a prospect makes to the apartment during the process, the leasing team should accompany the residents to their new home along with someone from maintenance to confirm the condition of the apartment at the time of move-in. The move-in inspection can also be completed at this time. It’s a great opportunity for the new resident to get reacquainted with some of the apartment’s features. You can:

  • Demonstrating the intercom system.
  • Testing the entry door locks, as well as locks on the patio door and windows.
  • Walking the resident through the steps to operate the heating or air conditioning systems.
  • Turning on every wall or light switch.  Explaining three way switches and wall outlets that are controlled by switches.
  • Reminders  about using vent fans in bathrooms to minimize humidity which causes mildew.
  • Explaining the GFCI switches in the apartment and which outlets are controlled.
  • Any policies regarding parking should be reviewed.  The move in time seems to create significant frustration with new neighbors when guests helping with the move are unaware of parking protocol.
  • This part of the “Welcome To Your New Home Tour”  should also point out the location of storage, laundry areas and the location of the mailbox.

 

“Zero Defect” Move Ins

The goal for the move in inspection is to provide a “zero-defect” report on the apartment. This is the first time the resident is in his or her new apartment as their home. The attention to detail is crucial, as it influences the resident’s expectations of what life there will be like. A poor move-in experience will be the sample by which the rest of their tenancy will be measured against. A “zero-defect” move-in also demonstrates the value and importance of completing all the renovations during the turnover period. Do it right the first time and you eliminate frustrated callbacks from tenants. This is equally true for service requests as well as move-ins. Identify any repairs that require scheduling a return visit. Servicing newly rented units can put a strain on the maintenance team unless the maintenance requests are scheduled prior to the move-in date to prevent this.

Include maintenance in the move-in inspection, and take the opportunity to recognize the efforts of the maintenance team.

Encourage the entire staff to give special attention to the property when a move-in is scheduled. This will reinforce the importance of the role each and every team member plays in the success of the move-in process. Internal rewards and recognition for reaching “zero-defect” goals provide additional incentives to the leasing team. Include maintenance in the move-in inspection, and take the opportunity to recognize the efforts of the maintenance team. They can adjust minor structural issues, like doors and drawers. Always satisfy the resident’s concerns immediately, which speaks to management’s ability to immediately resolve residents’ issues or repairs.

 

Scheduling Repairs From The Move-In Inspection

If maintenance is requested to return to the apartment, establish the expectation that the work will be completed within either twenty-four hours or another date requested by the resident. Repairs identified on the move-in inspection list can impact when a resident can finally get settled into their new home. The pending maintenance repair is considered an intrusion by the staff of the privacy of their home.

The leasing team must continue to communicate with the new resident during the move-in process. Confirm all repairs are completed to their satisfaction so as to overcome any disappointment over the need for repairs. In many cases, the move-in inspection is quickly filed to satisfy administrative requirements, yet some repairs listed were ignored. It’s equally important to confirm any items noted as worn or damaged beyond repair. While most apartment homes have been previously occupied, the turnover process is intended to eliminate any signs of a previous resident. When an item cannot be repaired or replaced, it is important to confirm that the apartment’s condition upon move-in is acceptable for the resident.

On the move-in date, the resident has already been evaluating their satisfaction with the apartment. It may be the “honeymoon” stage, but the decision to renew their current lease is affected from the first day of occupancy. Maintenance responds promptly to the move-in inspection and other service requests. The management team needs to confirm the completion of repairs and overall satisfaction with the apartment, which shows a genuine interest in the resident’s well-being beyond the move-in.