If you post it, they will inquire. But when it comes to selecting the best-qualified tenant(s) for your rental property, a brief- yet thorough application process is your greatest tool. Before you start showing your property, take the time to understand Fair Housing laws (explained in previous week’s blog). Then outline exactly what your application process will be, keeping these 7 tips in mind:
- Know what you’re looking for in a potential tenant: Is it someone with pristine credit and no pets? Be flexible when you can, but firm in areas you can’t.
- Inform tenants of your terms: You’ve thoroughly pondered your leasing terms, so don’t be shy about informing a potential tenant of them up front. This will help prevent any confusion later on.
- Create an application that asks both the important and pertinent questions: The important questions cover qualification info like income, employment and purpose for leaving a former residence, but don’t forget all the necessary questions as well (current address, number of applicants, kinds of pets, etc).
- Verify Information: Don’t believe all that you read- always verify employment, income and identification. This is as simple as requesting pay stubs, calling employers and getting a copy of an identification card.
- Check credit: Know what aspects of a potential tenant’s credit will disqualify him/her from renting your investment property. Credit can uncover bad bill-paying habits and previous rental issues (like evictions) of potential tenants.
- Require an application fee- or don’t(in accordance with your state’s laws): An application fee is a great way to determine who is truly serious about renting your property, and it will cut down on unnecessary screening of applicants who are applying “just because”. If you are getting lots of serious applicants, waive the fee. It’s up to you.
- Seek out help if needed: Look into a property management company if the task of landing a tenant is too arduous or time-consuming. It can be both, but finding qualified tenants is worth the effort.