Every landlord dreams of tenants who pay on-time and are clean, quiet, and respectful. It can be hard to tell which rental applicants will exhibit these characteristics from their application, but there are some clues to find out which applicants may make the best tenants. The following are our 10 best tips for finding the perfect tenants.
Tip #1 – Advertise
Be sure to advertise your property as much as you can. This will give you a larger pool of applicants to choose from and increase the likelihood of finding a great tenant . Use sites like Craigslist, Zillow, Rent.com and Trulia to find as many interested applicants as possible.
Tip #2 – Verify they afford your home
This is one of the easiest ways to tell if your tenants will be able to pay their rent on-time. Tenants with gross monthly income less than 3 times the monthly rent are likely to have problems paying you each month. Look for people who have a good sized savings account as well, this shows they can be responsible with their money and have some cushion if they were to lose their job. Also, look at their employment history. Do they bounce around from job to job often or have they been at a job for years that can provide steady income?
Tip #3 – Evaluate Credit History
Most renters don’t always have pristine credit. They could be just starting to build their credit or they may have been through tough times. Whatever the reason is, it’s important to see if the issue is isolated or if they have a history of issues paying their bills on-time. You also want to check their income to debt ratio and be sure this won’t affect their ability to pay rent.
Tip #4 – Call the Previous Landlord
One of the best ways to see if the applicants will make good tenants is to call the previous landlord. You can find out if they paid their rent on-time, if they were clean and if they caused any problems. You can also find out their reason for moving and if they gave a proper 30-day notice.
Tip #5 – Don’t ignore Red Flags
Most people slip up here and there, but repeated late payments, civil judgements, or foreclosures are a good sign there is more trouble to come. Recent or multiple evictions are also warning signs to select a different applicant.
Tip #6 – Check Criminal History
A thorough background check will include a criminal court records search as well as a Department of Corrections Offender search, a Sexual Offender Database search and a review of the Terrorist Watch List. Be sure to have a policy detailing what criminal convictions you deny an applicant for.
Tip #7 – The Follow Through
Once potential renters take an interest in your property, take notice of how well they follow through with the next steps. Do they change a showing time last minute? Do they get their rental application in quickly? Is it missing information? Do they answer their phones or call you back in the same day? If they aren’t on top of the application process, it may be a sign that they lack responsibility.
Tip #8 – Be Picky
You put a lot of hard work providing a great home for people to rent, don’t be afraid to get a little picky about who lives there. If you can’t find a great applicant right away, hold out until you find the right one. It is far more costly to let the wrong applicant in than to spend a few more weeks finding the right tenant.
Tip #9 – Be a Great Landlord
This last tip may go a little overlooked by some, but it’s really important. Be the best landlord you can possibly be. Show applicants that you can be understanding but also firm when need be. Respond quickly to the needs of your tenants and provide them with a safe and functional place to live. Be honest and respectful with your tenants and they will show you the same respect. If you want perfect tenants, you must strive to be the perfect landlord.