If you have rental properties, there is nothing more difficult than finding good renters. Find out what questions to ask in the screening process and soon you will have model renters in your properties.
Doing a credit check and checking references is not a guarantee that you are going to pick a good renter. The fact is, a potential renter is never going to give you a bad reference. They would sooner supply you with a pre-selected friend’s phone number, and that friend is going to lie and tell you whatever they think you want to hear. The same goes with a potential employer. As far as credit goes, there are very few people who have excellent credit these days since the majority of the population does not know what it takes to maintain excellent credit.
Most people assume that closing a credit card is good for their score when in actuality, closing a credit card will drop your score drastically. Therefore, unless you are planning on closely analyzing every item on their report and fully understand how to do this, you will not have any success in selecting a good renter. Instead, use these trick questions to pull the truth from potential renters and make the correct selection for your property. If they do not pass the following test questions, do not take a chance on them. They will screw you over the first chance they get.
How long have you worked for your current employer?
This question will reveal a lot about your applicant. If they have worked with their current employer for less then a year, there is a good possibility that they may not be working there for much longer. Be very wary of anyone who has only been at their job for a couple months because if they get fired or quit, they will not care enough about you to make the rent on time.
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Again, this question reveals a lot. If they were at their previous employer for less then a year, this person has a hard time staying at a job. It is a strong indication that they will not be a reliable selection. Steer Clear. Stick to people who have worked at their current jobs for more then a year since they will be fully aware of all the good and bad factors related to their jobs, and will be more likely to keep their job.
How long have you lived at your current residence?
If they have not lived at their current residence for long, they will not live at your residence for very long. Your goal is to find someone who will be there for a long time and take care of your property. Moving again in a short period of time is a guarantee that this is person will be gone before the dust settles. Look for someone with longevity.
Why are you moving?
No matter how long the person has lived at their current address, there is a reason they are moving. By asking this question, you are going to find out their side of the story. If they had problems with the previous landlord, they are going to embellish those problems. They are going to tell you every bad thing that landlord ever did. What this really means is that your applicant is going to cause problems for you. They are going to complain about every little thing and give you one heck of a headache. Look for renters who are moving because they need to be closer to work or because they want a bigger place. These renters are usually less trouble.
Are you able to pay the first month’s rent and deposit today?
If they give you an excuse as to why they need time, they will give you an excuse when it comes time to pay the rent. Do not negotiate. If they do not have the money now, they will not have it later.
Do you have a current pay stub to verify employment?
When they show you a paystub, this gives you the opportunity to verify two things. First, you will see that they do work where they said. Second, you will see exactly how much money they made year-to-date as well as how much they make per pay period. This will let you know if they can really afford paying the rent. Give preference to renters who make more then double the rent.
Have you had any credit problems that i should know about?
Whether you pull a credit report or not, by asking this simple question, your potential tenant is going to volunteer every bad thing they can think of related to credit. More often then not, they do not know what is on their credit report or understand why they have the score they do, so they will overcompensate to sell you on their worthiness. Listen carefully because whatever they tell you will let you know how well they manage their financial responsibilities. Anyone who has nothing to say probably has nothing on their report, and quite possibly will be a good risk.
Have you ever been evicted?
If a person has been evicted, RUN. This means that the renter knows enough about the law to take advantage of renter’s rights. If you have to evict them, they will stay put until the very last day. You will spend a ton of money and energy trying to force them out of your property, and in the meantime, they will sit there and not pay you a dime.
Have you ever taken a landlord to court?
Again, if they have been involved in a legal dispute with a landlord, they will cause trouble for you as well. They know enough about the law to sue someone in a court of law, and they know enough about the law to make you miserable. Do not choose someone who has been in a legal battle with a landlord. Instead, look for the renter who will just leave before things go bad.
Who will be living in the unit?
This question is important. Look closely at everyone who will be living there because they will be causing just as much damage as any other renter. The more people living there, the faster the damage will occur. Generally, you want a small family with younger children, preferably girls. With a small family, your tenants will be less likely to move anytime soon. With girls, you have a better chance of the place remaining clean. Male teenagers and male college students tend to cause more destruction then any other demographic, so if you have an option that does not include this group, give preference to them. This will not only save you on the cleanup costs, but it will also save you on repairs.
Published in: Homeowners