Rental Moveout Walk-through in South Austin

Yesterday, September 1st, I walked through a rental property in South Austin that had been vacated the day before. I had my Flip Mino Video Camera with me so I decided to make a short video of the walk-through and share a few things about what I look for when walking a vacant rental property after a tenant move out.

The result is one of the worst videos I’ve ever seen. I have no idea what I’m doing, or how to make a good video. I move too fast, muddle my words, don’t hold the camera steady, etc. I look like a dork and sound stupid. My Inner Critic is telling me to forget it, don’t post it. It’s terrible. Learn some video editing first. But if I wait until I know what I’m doing, it will never happen.

I have the camera mainly for vacations and recording family stuff, but I’ve thought for a while now that it might be fun to start making some video blogs, so this is what I’m starting with, for better or worse.

Here goes …

If you wonder what it’s like being a landlord, you’ll find it interesting (if you just watched the video) that the tenant emailed me the same day, after not following the instructions provided for returning keys, and stated in the email, “I spent a lot of time cleaning the house. I hope it was up to your standards.”

This is why I don’t allow tenants to walk through properties with me, or meet them for move-out walk-throughs. There is too big of a disconnect between what I observe and what a tenant deems to be acceptable. For more on that, read my past article “Why I Never Do Move-out Walk-throughs with Departing Tenants

Back to video making and why I decided to go ahead with my first rough draft right out of the gate.

I constantly tell my 13 and 16 year old daughters to “just do it”, and to not be afraid. In life, it’s usually better to just go ahead and get started with something now, even though you might not feel 100% ready, than it is to wait and get started “perfectly”.

I’ve observed this over the years in real estate. New agents come into the business and want to get all set up and get all the ducks in a row, perfect business card, perfect this, perfect that, but meanwhile never actually do anything productive toward obtaining a listing or finding a ready and willing buyer to work with.

Meanwhile, a completely unprepared new agent would come into the office with a new listing and want help figuring out how to get it into the MLS. Instead of fussing over business cards, logos, or dumb questions like “should I put my cell phone number on my signs?”, they were instead calling their list of family, friends and anybody they could think of to let them know they are now in real estate. And low and behold, they catch someone at the right time and end up with a listing. Imagine that!

So, I hope this will be the first in a string of really bad real estate videos that I create, and I expect over time I might learn a thing or two and maybe they’ll improve. Meanwhile I can show my daughters that I practice what I preach.

5 thoughts on “Rental Moveout Walk-through in South Austin”

  1. Just a note… in Virginia, if you refused to do a walk through with the tenant, you’d be giving up your right to charge them anything. Otherwise, I think this is a good video to share with tenants and landlords so they understand “acceptable” and “normal”. Often Property Managers will have a tenant sign a lease that says carpets will be professionally cleaned, the place cleaned, etc. etc. and then that tenant arrives on move in day to find that the landlord has not seen to it that the property was in that condition at lease inception! Landlords or property managers offer up the excuse that ” that’s the way it was left”. Well… what do they think… little magic fairies were going to get it in ship shape before the new tenant arrived? Did they REALLY think that the new tenant would be OK with agreeing to return the property in BETTER condition than it was on move in day? I find private landlords and amateur property managers SOOOO frustrating.

  2. Your candor and balanced approach was refreshing! I have nothing to do with real estate, but I enjoyed watching your video and I feel like I learned something. Kudos to you and keep the vids coming!

  3. Steve-
    could you elaborate on the approx cost of those repairs… and how you handle costs that may run over the security deposit… and also… what about the fact that the tenant is allowed “normal wear and tear”?

    thanks so much for your interesting blogs!!

  4. Steve,
    Thanks for posting the video. It’s not the worst video ever, by the way. You keep it moving, the commentary is interesting, and your purpose of showing us what the state of a typical (?) walk-through is like. If you had the time, you could perhaps have edited out a couple of spots where the light blew out, but I’d leave it alone.
    I admire your calm manner in reviewing this home. I would be freaking out at the damage and dirt, everywhere you look! Would you show the owner the house, or do you just get it all fixed up nicely so they don’t see it? I’m curious.
    Another question: does the tenants’ bond pay for “normal” damage like this? It looks like it would cost a whole lot to get this house back to looking nice again. And would you do anything with the lawn, or will it grow back again? Not living in Texas, I can’t tell if the grass is actually dead, or just dormant.

  5. Hi Vicky: Yes, in Texas, the tenant has to “surrender” the property by vacating and returning keys. Landlords have no obligation to walk through with a tenant. Even on a house like this, the tenant would typically argue about the condition.

    Kiki: Thanks!

    Lenny: On repair costs, we simply have everything brought back to base standard condition and bill the tenant the actual cost. We don’t bill for items that resulted from normal wear and tear.

    Peter: Yes, I’d show the owner the house if they wanted, but usually I’d tell them to just wait until I get it ready. In most cases, the tenant deposit will cover damages such as these.

    The yard does appear dead, though it might come back with good watering. Problem is we’re restricted now to watering once a week, so this yard will be left as-is until the weather cools and we get some rain. Then we can get some rye seed down and see if the existing grass comes back. I’m doubtful on this one though.


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