As a landlord, finding a great tenant may be the most important thing you do to ensure you’re making a solid profit. Good tenants can make all the difference, while a bad tenant can damage your property and relationship with neighbors or other tenants.
Use smart advertising
Knowing the best place to advertise will allow you to reach a large pool of possible tenants. While it might seem daunting to consider going through a lot of candidates, the more applicants you have, the more likely you are to find a good one.
For a fee, you can list on rental sites online, and it may also pay to take out ads in the local paper or on the paper’s website. Consider putting up flyers in places where the sort of people you want to attract will be, such as upscale grocery stores or employee lunchrooms.
Wherever you find an applicant, be sure to use a proper tenant screening program. Never accept tenants just because they are friends of a friend or someone your sister knows from work.
Use an application
At times, we’d all like to trust that our sixth sense and judgment about people is spot on. Even if you are generally an excellent judge of character, you’re not infallible. You don’t want the one time that you misjudge to be when you’re choosing a tenant.
Make sure you give every single tenant an application that asks for everything you need to perform a proper screening. Consider asking questions such as “how long do you plan to rent?” and “have you ever been evicted?” to help you make a decision about a candidate.
Just remember that Fair Housing Laws, and many state laws, are strict about discrimination. There are some things you cannot ask at all, and some things you can ask, but only if you ask everyone. For example, you can ask about prior convictions for violent crimes if you choose, but you can’t ask only people of one race or sex.
Require them to have insurance
Renters insurance will cover the personal property of your renters and will also cover any damage to your property that they may cause. Naturally you will not be renting to anyone who seems likely to destroy your place, but accidents happen.
Be candid about this. You might even state on the application that you will require proof of renters insurance before you allow renters to move in. This alone will send irresponsible applicants packing.
Clean your property
If you want tenants who will take good care of your property and be responsible with their obligations, you’re looking for someone with standards. If your place is a wreck, you’re not attracting high-quality candidates.
Show your potential renters that you respect them as much as you expect to be shown respect, and clean up the place. While you’re at it, make sure everything is in good repair and any junk from previous renters has been removed.
Don’t be tempted to settle
If the right candidate hasn’t applied yet, don’t give up and jump for someone questionable just to get a body in the door. This could cost you a lot more in the long run than you’ll make by renting out quickly.
Wait for the right candidate, and if you’re having trouble finding someone, don’t be afraid to adjust your advertising. You might just be looking in the wrong place. It’s always worth it to wait a bit longer for a responsible, long-term renter.
Once you have the right tenants in your property, you can rest easy knowing they will take care of your place, pay on time, and maintain good relationships with you and everyone else. Just remember: A poor tenant could cost you a fortune, but a great tenant is priceless.