Post your property listing online
Nowadays, the first place people look to for property listings is the internet. By posting your listing online, you’re able to reach lots of potential tenants, and maybe even find the perfect tenant. Try to keep the listing as detailed and honest as possible, that way, people won’t ask too many questions and you’ll attract serious potential tenants who already know what they want. Here are some important questions to answer in your listing:
- How many bedrooms are there? Bathrooms? Is there a kitchen and living room?
- What’s the parking situation? How many spaces will be allotted for your tenant? How far is it from the property?
- Is the property close to any other establishments? (Grocery, hospital, school, gym, restaurant, cafe, religious establishment, etc.)
- Is there a nearby bus or train station?
- What’s the security like? Are there security cameras? Alarm systems?
- Will you require a background check? Credit report?
- And most important of all: How much will it cost? Does that include the application fee? The utility fee?
While you may strive to find the perfect tenant who pays his bills on time, has a clean criminal record, perfect credit score, etc., you’re going to have some difficulty with the bar set so high. It’s important to asses what YOU value as a proprietor. Create a list of lifestyle requirements (this includes demeanor, income, credit score, criminal background, roommates/family members, smoking habits, pets, etc.) and you’re ready for the next step.
Hold a rental property showing
This is your chance to get your first-impressions on a potential tenant. Not that you’re going to wanna judge a book by its cover, rather, first-impressions really do say a lot about a person. For example, if they’re late, or don’t show up at all, what do you think that will mean when it comes to paying rent? This is also a great time to ask and see if they fit your lifestyle requirements, whatever those may be.
Run a thorough background check
How much your tenant earns on a monthly basis directly affects you as a landlord, seeing as you can really only get paid when they get paid. It’s also important to set an income-to-rent ratio for potential tenants. As an added bonus, you may want to call their employer to check up on what kind of employee they are, the length of their employment, and of course, verify their monthly earnings.
This sort of information is absolutely crucial when selecting the ideal tenant. It’s up to you how high you’d like to set the bar for a tenant’s credit score, but generally speaking, the higher the better. A tenant’s credit report will tell you if they have outstanding debt or a good history of paying on time, which may potentially come to reflect when paying rent.
When doing a criminal background check, the severity of the crime committed should always be considered. It should be fine to turn a blind eye towards “crimes” like a petty theft from 10 years ago or maybe even a pile of speeding tickets. But if you’re dealing with violent crimes such as assault, arson, robbery, or theft, maybe this isn’t the tenant you want. The last thing you want is renting to someone who may damage or steal your property, or even cause harm to other tenants.
If possible, try and get in touch with the tenant’s previous landlords, just to get an idea of what kind of tenant they were. Try not to go for their current landlord, as they may lie to get the tenant off their hands (if they’re a problem tenant.) So from their previous landlords, try and find out if they paid their rent on time, if they kept the property in order, if they complained often, etc. It’s also good to find out why they moved, if they were evicted or not.
A sit down interview with a potential tenant is the perfect time to fill in the gaps in the information you’ve gathered from the previous steps. Treat this interview like a normal conversation, be nice and friendly, but assert your dominance. A tenant may take advantage if they think you’re weak in any way. If you don’t already know the answers, here are a few ideal questions to ask:
- How long do you plan to stay here?
- Why did you decide to move?
- What did you like or dislike about the previous place?
Keep in mind to only ask relevant questions, you don’t want to be too intrusive or nosey.