We’ve talked about finding good tenants many times but it’s certainly worth repeating. I cannot stress enough how important it is to make sure you find the best tenant possible. The best tenant is the one that causes you the least amount of headaches and puts money in your account. It shouldn’t be too hard right?
Well it depends on you. If you are committed to working hard in looking for the right tenant you will be rewarded handsomely. But, if you just want to get someone in quick and don’t want to have to deal with it, then you are likely to be shooting yourself in the foot.
If you are in the latter group – you don’t want to deal with paperwork and commitment it takes, then I strongly suggest that you find a reputable property manager. They will take the hard work out of owning an investment property. All you have to deal with is us – the property management team – and we deal with all the bits and bobs.
So, how do you find good tenants?
Keep in mind that tenants who have a spotty past or bad credit are often inclined to look for properties where they know the landlord is self-managing – especially a new landlord. New landlords haven’t seen it all before, whereas a longterm landlord or a property management firm have seen all the tricks and know what to look out for.
So if you are more a DIYer and want to get good tenants, then let me give you a couple of pointers.
1 – The Rental Application
The application is critical. You get a sense of where that person has been, and who they are. it is vital that you follow-up with the references and work history, but there are a couple of other areas to look at :
– Blank spots. Have they filled in their birthday and any identifying information like their driver’s license number? If they haven’t why not?
– If they are vague with answers such as “Don’t remember” that’s not good enough
– Can you read it? If they are a doctor then maybe they can get away with illegible handwriting, otherwise you really need to be able to read what they’ve written.
If it’s not filled in fully – hand it back!
2 – Verify, Verify, Verify
Consider undertaking a social media search of their Twitter feed, Facebook and a general Google search. This helps to get a sense of who they are. (Make sure if you do this, that you do not discriminate against applicants in any legal sense.)
Verify their rental history and work history. Yes there is always a chance that they have used a friend as a reference, but by combining all the accumulated information, you will be able to determine if they are genuine.
3 . Who else?
If other adults are planning on living in the property, get their name on the application along with a photo ID. The primary applicant maybe above-board, but others who plan on living there may not be.
By screening your tenants thoroughly you will get a sense of who they are and what they are about and you will feel more confident in electing the right tenant. Of course there are no guarantees, but at least you will be secure in the fact that you did the best you could.
Do you have anything that you specifically look for when you are screen tenants?