As we come upon peak rental season, it’s important for landlords to be picky about their tenants. Most Americans move between the months of May and September. This is when college kids are moving for school when adults are switching jobs or being moved near the end of the fiscal year, and when others are moving because it’s typically the most accommodating time for it. These months are vital for renters.
Although the goal of renting is to fill up all of your available spaces, renting to a less-than-stellar tenant isn’t worth the trouble. Many times, it’s better to have a vacant room rather than a rowdy tenant. Here are five simple steps you can follow to find and vet the best potential tenants.
Request an application
First and foremost, you should request that potential tenants formally apply for your space. There is a free online rental application that allows you as the landlord to get quick, easy applications from potential tenants. And since it’s free, they shouldn’t be complaining about filling out the application unless they have something to hide.
Applications are important because they tell you a lot about a tenant’s history. These applications ask about past employers, their current income level, financial information that can back up their financial credibility and references. These applications can be telling about whether a tenant is trustworthy, pays rent on time, and doesn’t disturb other tenants.
Market online and check social media
An important way to grab the attention of potential tenants is to market your property online. Many companies offer services that help optimize your online marketing strategies; for example, Straight Marketing LLC reviews ways that companies can better market themselves online using SEO and social media tactics to better reach different audiences. If you’re in a rut with the same clientele, marketing on social media and on other online platforms could help you find new potential tenants.
Social media is also a great place to vet your future renters. If a young 20-something applies to live in one of your spaces, you can search for them on social media. With so many social media accounts being more public than people would expect, it gives you a window into what a potential tenant is actually like. If they post too much about illegal activity, that could be a good indicator of how they may act on your property.
Run a credit check
The next thing you want to do is run a credit check. You don’t have to run a hard credit check, because that may scare off a good tenant. A soft check which simply looks for a good credit score — which indicates a responsible spender — will suit your needs. A credit check also tells you about any current debt that the tenant has and indicates if they’ve been paying it off on time. These all could point toward a financially responsible individual or someone who could burden you with missed payments.
Run a background check, contact previous landlords
Next, you want to run a background check. Background checks allow you the ability to see any past evictions or criminal history. As a respectable landlord, you want to foster a good environment for your tenants. It’s a reciprocal relationship. So running background checks on potential tenants that could cause harm or other issues for your current tenants is important. One bad apple could scare good tenants away from your property.
Talk to them in person
Lastly, you want to conduct an interview in person. If they’ve checked off all of your other boxes and seem like a good candidate, interviewing them in person can show you what their disposition is like. If they’re someone who seems flippant or like they’d never listen to your requests as a landlord, then they may not be a good tenant. Talking to them in person also tells you vital information about them, such as whether they have any pets.