This post was last updated on October 17th, 2022 at 10:36 am
When it comes to managing a rental property, maintaining the building is only half the battle: finding the perfect tenant to lease your unit is just as important, and the right match can make or break the success of your real estate business.
Taking the time to find the right renters might feel time consuming, but strategically screening your potential tenants can save you both time and money long-term – if someone reliable moves in, you can be looking at years of steady income without having to deal with the headache of evictions or seeking out new tenants.
New and seasoned landlords alike already know that it’s critical to treat rental properties like businesses. This means focusing on the financial transaction of renting; as likable or as kind as a potential tenant might be, you must thoroughly investigate their ability to pay rent on a monthly basis.
Here are a few key questions to ask, either before or during the showing:
- What is an estimate of your monthly income?
- Who is your employer?
- Have you ever filed for bankruptcy?
- Have you ever been evicted?
- Are you able to pay the security deposit?
The throughline to look for is dependability. You don’t need to know every detail of their personal finances, but you do need to know if they’ll be able to pay rent problem-free.
It’s hard to know someone’s character right off the bat, so integrating reference checks into your screening process can help paint a clearer picture of who’s moving into your property.
The easiest way to do this is to ask for local, landlord or employer references in the rental application. A quick phone call to people they list can help you confirm that the renter is who they claim to be.
If you only have time for one or two calls, prioritize checking in with previous landlords to ensure you’re not leasing to a risky tenant.
Who’s in the Household
Finally, you shouldn’t rent to someone without knowing who will actually be living in the property. Be sure to ask who will be living in the space, how many parking spaces they’ll need and how many pets they have.
Clarifying what the household looks like will help you anticipate any problems down the line and filter out tenants who don’t match your renting standards.
A Quick Note on Keeping Tenants Happy
Once you find a great tenant, it’s in your best interest to keep them around. You likely don’t want to redo the painstaking process of finding someone new, or risk replacing them with someone less reliable. To do so, you’ll need to proactively take steps to maintain the property.
For example, don’t fall behind on tasks like gutter cleaning. Neglecting gutter cleaning can disrupt the building’s foundation, harm the exterior walls and cause your tenants to look elsewhere when damage occurs.
Forgoing routine gutter cleaning can cause extensive damage to the property, both costing you preventable repairs and driving away reliable renters. Don’t wait until maintenance issues arise: be on top of routine maintenance.
As you look for your next tenant, properly screening their financial background, personal references and household makeup can significantly improve your chances at finding the perfect match.
If you’re looking for a local partner to assist with routine maintenance like gutter services, exterior home cleaning, mosquito and tick control and more, we would be happy to provide you with a free estimate and answer any questions you may have.