You want to find the right tenants for your property, but learning how to find good tenants for your rental house can be tricky. Going through a thorough tenant screening process can set you on the right path to protecting your investment as effectively as possible. You don’t want to jump into renting to the wrong person just to fill a void, as that could ultimately be just as costly as having your property remain vacant.
Understanding how to find good tenants can be stressful for agents and landlords. You don’t want to inadvertently end up with someone in your property who gets into rent arrears, as you’ll then have to spend time and effort rectifying the problem. Read on to find out the three best ways to find and keep reliable tenants.
1. Detailed Application
So, your property is in beautiful condition, the neighborhood is great, and you’ve had a lot of interest in your listing -- what next? You need to have your prospective tenant complete an application form and gather all of the relevant information that enables you to make a decision about who is the best person to rent to. Be clear on what kind of tenant you want by asking for specific things on your application form, such as;
- Employment history - how often your prospective tenant changes jobs might give you an idea of whether they view your property as a long-term base
- Rental history - if the tenant has lived in a rental property before, you need to check in with previous landlords and ask for a little more information
- Personal references - try and seek out references who are unrelated to the tenant, who can give you an idea of their general reliability
You need to ensure that your listing is clear on what your property offers and what your requirements are for your tenants. If you’re not comfortable renting to pet owners, smokers, or if you prefer not to rent to people who have had previous evictions, then you need to make that clear from the outset so that you have an engaged pool of suitable applicants. Keep the Fair Housing Act in mind when you’re constructing your ideal tenant, you can't discriminate on the grounds of race or color, ethnicity or origin, disability, sex, religion or on whether they have children, and it is against federal law to question prospective renters on these topics.
2. Research, Research, Research
Next come the background checks. Using a tenant screening service is a great way to get your renter’s background details, particularly their credit score and history. You’ll need to see a full credit report and score, a criminal background check, and an eviction history report.
By taking the opportunity to find out more about the prospective tenant, you will be able to weed out the ones who aren't a good fit and make a shortlist of candidates who meet your requirements and who have a financially responsible background. You’ll want to know whether the tenant pays on time and you’ll want to protect your investment.
Once you have all the reports back along with the application, you’ll need to confirm all the information that you can. Call the tenant's employer to double-check that they are an employee in good standing at the salary they say they earn. You should generally be looking for your renter to earn three times as much as the rent each month for it to be a comfortable outlay and not cause excess financial pressure.
Taking a good look at the credit report is a must too. Red flags you should be looking for are high levels of debt, delinquency and, if possible, previous bankruptcies. Evidence of these things could mean that the tenant is high risk, and you need to decide if you are comfortable with that.
Using a tenant screening service helps take the pressure off making some of the checks. Also, the process can be less chaotic if you create a tenant screening checklist. If you choose Rentspree to screen your tenants, then you proceed from application to screening by merely supplying the tenant’s email address. This streamlined verification process makes the landlord’s job less of a headache and ensures they get all the up to date information that they need to make a decision.
3. Continue the Love Affair
When you find the perfect tenant, work with them to maintain a great relationship so that they want to stay in your property. For you or your landlord client, keeping a tenant is a best-case scenario as it’s super cost-effective.
Treat your tenant well by anticipating their needs and keeping the lines of communication open. Let them know that you are happy to get feedback and that you want to hear about any concerns they have, and hopefully you’ll stop any problems in their tracks before they escalate.
Issues like slow response times can lead to discontent, but if you respond to questions and concerns quickly, then you’re more likely to maintain a fabulous relationship with your tenant, and keep them for the long haul. If you have other properties, then let your tenants know. You never know, they made need to move to a bigger place or a different area, and you might have something perfect. After all, you won’t need to worry about how to find good tenants for your rental house if you have great long-term renters already.
Finding good tenants for your property can be a frustrating process, but by being patient, you’ll reap the rewards. You might not find the perfect match in the first, second, or even third applicant, but if you ask the right tenant screening questions and get to know your prospective tenants, you will get a feel for who is a good fit. It’s worth putting in the time to find a great tenant, as settling for someone less than ideal can leave you spending even more time and money resolving problems later on.