Last week we talked about setting your tenant standards. But what do you do with all the applications you get? After you receive an application make sure you read it carefully. If there’s any part that doesn’t meet your list of standards, toss it. Check every report that comes back to you and disqualify any tenants that don’t meet any of those standards. By this point you should your list narrowed down pretty well!
*Credit Reports – Of course there are legal routes to follow when doing this, so make sure you’re following every step and keeping good records along the way.
*Criminal Records – Public records, court searches, newspapers, background checks, and sex offender registries are all great places to look. You might also want to consider hiring a professional to take care of this step for you.
*Calling references – Make sure to call and speak to everyone on the reference list. If even one previous landlord gives a negative review, it’s not worth the risk. How they behave at work will tell you how they’ll probably behave at home – timeliness and cleanliness aren’t restricted to one aspect of someone’s life. Make a list of questions to ask before you call and make sure they all get answered. Don’t forget to check the pet references as well!
*Meet the animals/people – Always meet the possible tenants and conduct it just as you would a job interview. Are they presentable? On time? Can they answer your questions clearly? Meet the animals as well and make sure their well-behaved.
*Get help – People that do this full time will naturally have more experience than you. For them spotting red flags is second nature and their instincts are honed to a shard edge. They’ll know when they’ve found you a client worth their weight in gold.
If you’ve stuck to your standards and done your homework the applicants you’ll be left with should be perfect for you and good for your property.