When a car rental agency retires a fleet, it’s usually after a couple of years’ worth of use. At the end of their useful life as a temporary car for a renter, either for business or vacation, the car agency will send the cars to another division dedicated to selling those vehicles to the general public. But long term rental purchasesthere’s always a word of caution buying a rental car as

 it’s understandable a renter won’t treat a rent vehicle in the same manner they treat their own car, sitting at home safely tucked in the garage. Not to say the renter will intentionally cause damage to the vehicle, but won’t necessarily treat the car with tender loving care. After all, the car will be returned in a few days with a full tank of gas and that’s that. Does the same thing apply buying an existing home that‘s been used as a rental for several years?

When a home has been rented for quite some time, say seven to ten years or more, there will have been a series of tenants moving in and moving out. Homeowners take care of their own properties but do tenants treat your units the way you would your own home? It’s safe to say they would not, which means going the extra mile during the property inspection to look for signs of previous damage or neglect. It can also indicate a landlord that wasn’t always the best when answering maintenance calls.

For example, look at the walls carefully. Do any of the walls appear to have been repaired and painted over? Looking closely you can often tell when walls have been repaired due to an errant hammer or thrown object. Look at the carpet and pull up an edge next to the wall. Is there padding underneath or did the landlord put new carpet directly over old? Does the home appear to have “temporary” fixes such as pipes wrapped to thwart a leak or outdoor faucets that continue to drip over time?

You can find some really good “diamond in the roughs” with existing rentals but don’t let the low price cloud your judgment. Too much neglect in the past is sure to cause more problems down the road.