For Renters Moving

9 Top Tips to Pass Your Move-Out Inspection

Are you getting ready to move out of a rental or considering a move? Renters across the country fret over the status of their security deposit when the owner or management company comes through for the final move-out inspection. Someone’s going to go over everything in your house, or even commercial property, looking for every ding, crack, and scratch.

Passing your move-out inspection is critical. Don’t make the mistake of ‘not caring’. You can do small things to leave very little room for error in your inspection and reclaim what’s yours in terms of your security deposit.

empty apartment clean bright wood floors

Too many people think, “Oh, that was money I forgot about, so it doesn’t matter.” Getting your inspection done and receiving your security deposit means more money you can spend on your next place, whether it’s upgrading furniture or getting that new TV.

Acing your move-out inspection takes planning and a little bit of elbow grease. But money is on the line, so it’s going to be worth your while. Here are 9 things you can do to pass your move-out inspection with flying colors!

hand with purple glove and sponge cleaning streak from wall

1. Buy Some Magic Erasers

If you’ve lived in your place for years, odds are you’ve scuffed up walls with handprints and other smudges. You might think those are stuck on there, but some scrubbing can make your wall look brand new again.

Don’t let management think a new coat of paint is necessary – a magic eraser can do wonders in reducing the look of normal wear and tear from your walls. Reduce the chances of having to pay for new paint by using some magic eraser brushes to remove any grime. 

Man in Blue T-shirt Standing Near Brown Cardboard Boxes

2. Declutter by Putting Stuff in a Storage Unit

It can be hard for renters to notice because we all get used to living with a lot of stuff, but clearing some space in your home or apartment can help you pass your move-out inspection more easily. You’d be surprised at how cost-effective a short-term self-storage unit can be.

Moving your stuff into a storage unit will reduce the amount of clutter you’ve got inside your place, giving a better impression to whoever’s doing the inspection. Every year, millions of Americans also use the units to bridge between moving from their old place into somewhere new. 

vacuuming confetti out of carpet

3. Clean the Carpets

If you’ve never steam cleaned carpets before, you might think that it’s a commercial job that can only be done by professionals. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars paying someone else to steam clean your carpets – but that’s what your management company or landlord will likely bill you for if you leave behind dirty carpets!

Instead, you can buy an affordable steam cleaner online that will suck the years of dirt and dust out from your rugs. Large home improvement chains and even grocery stores will also let you rent commercial-grade carpet cleaners that are simple to learn and can change your carpets around in 24 hours. 


4. Make Sure You Do a Move-In Inspection!

It may be too late for your place right now, but don’t make this mistake in your new place! A lot of people shrug off the importance of a move-in inspection because they’re eager to just get inside and get settled. That’s a big no-no.

Your move-in inspection is where you can make your property management company aware of any damage that is already existing in your unit. You should note anything that’s not in perfect condition. That way it can either be fixed or it can be documented that you won’t be held responsible when it’s time to move out.

A thorough and complete move-in inspection is one of the best ways to protect yourself and make sure the move-out inspection goes without issue. 

hand with spray bottle cleaning solution with pink glove

5. Clean

This is simple, but it’s an important part of successfully passing a move-out inspection. Clean the kitchen, empty the fridge, and scrub out any spills. Scrub the inside of your microwave and clean the oven. Sweep the floors!

Think about it. If you don’t do it, you’re going to be paying for a professional cleaning crew to come into your old place and do it for you. So what is your time worth? Do the math and then decide if it should be part of your preparation for a move-out inspection. 

cleaning the oven

6. Focus on the High Impact Areas Landlords Care About Most

If you don’t own property, you may not realize that there are certain parts of your apartment or house that landlords are most concerned about. Most property owners are reasonable. They understand that a place goes through a certain amount of wear and tear from years of normal living.

What most landlords want to avoid, however, are any expensive repairs that threaten to wipe out months or even years of rental income. These areas include carpets, kitchens, and bathrooms. If you’re short on time, focus on these three areas to get them in the best possible condition. 

handyman fixing thermostat

7. Think About Paying for Services Before the Inspection

If any repairs or cleaning are beyond your capacity, you should consider hiring them yourself before your property management company needs to do it. That’s because your management company will often also charge you for the time it takes to find a company, and inevitably their rates will be higher than whatever you find yourself.

Money makes the world go round, as they say. It’s funny how every time you have to pay your management company for something it’s more expensive than what you saw available online. 

pink highlighter circling date on calendar 15th

8. Schedule the Move-Out Inspection Early

In an ideal world, you’ll be able to schedule your move-out inspection days, or even weeks, before you move. Give yourself some lead time to fix any minor repairs or do any cleaning your property management is requiring.

For example, if they tell you that the carpets are dirty a day after you move out, you don’t really have any recourse. You simply have to pay to let them fix whatever they say needs to be repaired.

On the other hand, scheduling early will allow you to find out exactly what they think needs to be repaired and either do it yourself or find someone you can pay to do it at a bargain. 

disagree thumbs up thumbs down

9. Don’t Be Afraid to Challenge the Inspection Results

Don’t be overly passive when dealing with the move-out inspection. This is, after all, your money that’s on the line. When your property management company or landlord issues the inspection results, bring up anything you disagree with and challenge any items you think are wrong.

For example, if you spend hours cleaning the stove and know it’s clean, don’t just accept that they say that the kitchen needs to be cleaned. Find out exactly which part needs work and push back. It will help swing the results of a move-out inspection in your favor. 

happy couple moving out carrying cardboard boxes

Moving is stressful, we get it. Don’t let the stress and anxiety of a move cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Following these steps, giving yourself time to prepare, and sticking to your guns will make a huge difference and make sure more of your own money finds its way back into your pockets before your next move. Good luck!