Multifamily Inspections | Check Lists | Lessons Learned

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Hi Everyone -

I am getting ready to contract on my first multifamily property. We are purchasing 3 duplexes all next to each other. It's like a small 6 unit apartment. Are there any good check lists for inspections on multi-family properties? Lessons learned? Best practices for inspecting each unit while they are occupied? Any tips, guides or check lists are appreciated. Unit is in Oklahoma City. Thanks!


The most thorough checklist will be hiring a property inspector to check each unit individually. I will be expensive but if you watch him do them and read the reports afterwards you could easily do almost all of it yourself the next time. 

I have a code enforcement inspection each year and the biggest issue is usually smoke detectors and any other safety violations. This is only a 4-plex but the CE officer told me that the big complexes will send someone through a few days before to change the smoke detector batteries and make sure they work but by the time the inspector comes, 25% have been removed by the tenants. 

I go through my 4 units before the inspection to do this. Most of the time the tenants remove them because the battery starts chirping. You can buy the type that are guaranteed for 10 years to reduce chirping. Most brands also have a tamper proof tab you can activate when you install it that makes it hard to remove unless you know exactly how to do it. I also make sure all the deadbolts latch properly and have strike plates. Over the years you will learn what CE will look for. They always find something to put on the report so don't take it personally. Just get it fixed and move on with life until the next inspection. 

Other non-code enforcement issues I look for when doing inspections on my own: change air filter, check to make sure toilets are not running, run water in sinks and check drain pipes for leaks, check for signs of unauthorized pets, check to make sure all windows operate, check all GFCI outlets with a tester and make sure they reset. 

if this is your first time get a good inspector and go over it thoroughly before you get through your contingency periods.  

Congrats to you Ben!  I am currently looking at my first investment property as a duplex!  Hopefully everything goes well for you!