With over 43 million Americans now renting, there are sure to be a ton of potential tenants out there that you do not want in your rental home. Ask any experienced Landlord or Property Manager for their favorite “bad tenant” story and you will probably hear about late rent payments, destroyed flooring, or even stolen appliances. Trusting your investment to someone else is hard enough as it is without having to worry about them damaging it. That is why tenant screening is so important.
Potential resident screening can be a time-consuming and formidable task. It is often helpful to seek the advice of a professional Property Manager so that you cover all of your bases. In the meantime, here are some screening tips for finding good tenants.
Screening Tip #1- Have a Thorough Application
Have all of your potential tenants fill out an application, and make sure that they complete it in its entirety. That includes signing documents that allow you to pull their credit and check their rental history. If they refuse, toss their application out. Call their landlord and employer references if you request them, and definitely follow through with a criminal background check. This might seem like a lot of personal information to request but it is critical that you fully screen the people that will be renting your home, even if they seem nice and trustworthy.
Screening Tip #2- Define Your Version Of A Good Tenant
After you acquire all of the information from your application screening, take a look at the complete picture. You can generally tell what qualities the applicant has from this process and can decide whether or not you think they are a high-quality renter. Some helpful questions to ask yourself include:
- Did they have issues making payments at their previous rental homes?
- Were they ever in serious trouble with the law?
- Why did they leave their previous residence?
This entire process is meant to help you narrow down the list of potential renters and get rid of the bad apples. Remember, this is your investment we’re talking about. Set yourself up for a successful experience and avoid having to go through things like evictions by doing your due diligence during this time.
Screening Tip #3- Trust Your Gut Feeling
Now that you have all of the facts, take a moment to reflect on your first impression of the applicants you are screening. The popular saying, “You never get a second chance at a first impression,” should come to mind. Were they polite or did they seem rude? A person that is disrespectful right off the bat may also have a problem respecting your property and will most likely become an issue for you later. Part of the screening process should be asking them questions to see if they match up with the references and background check.
Screening potential tenants for your investment home can seem like a daunting task. Consistency is key during this process, so make sure that you have a game plan outlined for yourself. While it may seem difficult to find a high-quality renter, it will be even more difficult to deal with a bad tenant for an entire lease. The extra steps are well worth the effort!
Do you have questions about screening for good tenants? On Q Property Management has created a simple and streamlined system to help relieve the stress that renting and managing your property can bring, including an extensive tenant screening process.
Contact us to find out how we get better tenants, faster.