One of the most important parts of the renting process for property owners is the screening of new tenants. It’s a task that is easy to pass on to a property management company or resort to quick methods for simply accepting or decline each application. However, there are other pieces of information you can only get from old fashioned techniques—in person—that are often overlooked.
Here are four old school screening tips that can give you extra selection power as you go consider prospective tenants.
In this article:
Listen to Their Concerns
The concerns of a possible new tenant can really tell you a lot about them. For example, are they concerned about the price of rent? Are they in a big hurry to move to a new place? These can both be potential red flags. Concern about your property being worth the rent often means they are worried about being able to pay it each month. And a hasty mover can mean they are being faced with an eviction.
Also, pay attention if they have a lot of complaints about their past landlord, and Google that landlord. It’s possible that you’ll find through reviews that person was indeed bad, but you also run the risk of this prospective tenant finding just as many complaints about you. And do you really want someone on your property who complains about everything? Taking the time to talk to each tenant and get a feel for their personality can really help as you screen.
Visit Their Current Home
Take a quick drive to the place where they currently live, and make some observations. You can even bring documents for them to sign if you need an excuse to come to the door. Listen for pets and kids and pay attention to any sights or smells that can give you a feel for the type of tenant they are.
Check Out Their Ride
It might also be helpful to look at the vehicle they are driving. Do they have a new vehicle that appears taken care of and reliable, or is a piece of junk? This is not always a tell-tell sign, as anyone can get in situations where they must wait for a fix-up. However, if it’s been over a year that they’ve had the junk, it could be a red flag.
The inside of the vehicle is another story, too, as it could be a reflection of how the inside of your property will be treated. If they have moldy food or piles of laundry all throughout their vehicle, that’s a sign to steer clear.
Have Them Leave a Voicemail
Letting the call go to a recording can give you a way to listen in on their background noise. It seems sneaky, but listening for out-of-control kids, unruly pets, or arguments can really help save you a lot of grief down the road. Be careful not to discriminate against a renter with kids, but just observe anyone with potentially destructive home lives.