We all want great tenants for many reasons, such as less wear and tear on your property, ensuring that the rental value stays high, a longer lease term and being reliable with timely rent payments. So how do you score the best chances at finding a great tenant? Checking out a potential tenant is more involved than you may think, so here are some sure-fire tips that will stack the odds in your favor at finding a good tenant.
1. Meet them face to face. Obviously! If you take the time to ask lots of questions, you’ll get a good opportunity to get an impression. Pay attention to your gut feeling, as well as your nose. You may not even have to ask if they smoke, or if they have cats.
2. Do a credit check. You may be embarrassed to ask, but do it anyway. Every time. The way a prospective tenant handles their finances will be consistent with how they pay you rent. Ensure that you know how to read a credit report and how to properly evaluate.
3. Asking for landlord references. You’d be amazed at what we’ve heard, from glowing recommendations to “What? They’re leaving?!?”. Find out how clean they are, did they pay their rent on time, did they leave on good terms with the landlord, did they give notice, did they have loud parties etc. Of course, do check that the landlord reference is actually the real landlord by asking subtle questions. We’ve caught fake landlord references, which is a great way to eliminate real tenant stinkers.
4. Verify their employment and income. This should never be an issue. It’s an easy call and employers happily provide this information.
5. Ask the prospective tenant important questions for you. Do you smoke? What pets do you have? Why are you moving? Who’s going to be living at the property?
6. Take the first and last month’s rent with the application, refundable of course if you don’t accept their application. Serious applicants who know that they’re good tenants aren’t going to balk. Plus, imagine how annoying it is to do all of the above, accept the applicant, call them up to tell them the good news, only to have your approved tenant say - “Oh, sorry. I already found a place.”.
If you follow all of these tips, you’ll have a much better chance at finding a good tenant, making your life as a landlord so much easier. Trust us - don’t skip or skimp on these tips. If you’re in need of assistance with screening tenants, and would like to consider having a property management company look after your rental property, please don’t hesitate to contact the professional property managers at Sound Property Management. We are eager to help keep your investment property safe and well managed.