While “location, location, location” may be the motto of real estate investing, when you’re renting a residential property, a quality tenant is the most important. After all, having a premium priced property in the best neighborhood won’t matter if it’s occupants aren’t paying your rent. So, how can a landlord find top notch tenants who pay on time, and stay long term? It’s easy to get swindled by today’s high tech, experienced crooks and scammers. Here’s a few tips on how to protect yourself, and properly screen for the best tenants in your area.
Have Your Prospects Complete an Application
The first step is to require a rental application for people interested in your home. If they aren’t willing to do so, you will be alerted right from the start that they are either not that interested, are hiding something or aren’t good at handling responsibility. These qualities are not what you want to find in a potential tenant. Also, by having them fill out the application, you will be better organized and have access to their work and rental history, social security number for conducting credit checks and criminal history, and contact information for their current employer.
Ask the Right Questions
An interview is of paramount importance. While the application can give you useful data, you also need to understand a potential tenant’s personality, habits and lifestyle. This is your chance to get a little more personal, find out more about them and formally introduce yourself to them. While it’s illegal to discriminate based on race, gender, national origin or religion, you need to know that the person you hand the keys over to will be respectful and open to communication. Be careful not to ask any questions that could be misconstrued as derogatory, otherwise you may risk a lawsuit. If you have a trusted legal adviser, you might want to run the questions you intend to ask past them to get feedback. The interview can be done over the phone, before you offer to show the house. It can be completed casually during the house tour, or you can schedule a separate meeting for a more formal interview.
Do a Thorough Background Check
Once you have their information, you can go on to the next step, which is conducting a proper background check. This includes pulling their credit report and checking their criminal background. Doing this will cost money, so you should only move forward to this step if you have reviewed the applications, and interviewed the prospective tenants. Asking for a small fee upon submitting the application can help to offset this cost, and can also help narrow down your list of prospects to those who are serious enough to pay the fee.
Protect Yourself in the Lease Agreement
Once you have chosen your tenant, you need to have a contract ready that keeps your best interests in mind. It may seem like an extra expense, but hiring a lawyer who specializes in real estate transactions to write or review your lease agreement could end up saving you a fortune in the future. After creating a solid contract, don’t just hand the paperwork over to the tenant and ask for it to be filled out and signed. Meet with them face to face and discuss the fine print. While you may be anxious to get them to sign on the dotted line, there’s a large chance that they won’t read the contract, and will unknowingly break your agreement while living there.
Hire a Reputable Local Property Management Company
One of the best ways to get quality tenants is hiring an experienced local property management company like DKRentals.net. Because of our rigorous standards, tenants that are looking for their homes through our company, have already passed extensive background checks and proven themselves to be excellent tenants with a flawless rental history and reputation for paying rent on time every month.
We proudly serve real estate investors just like you in Atlanta, Roswell, Alpharetta, Marietta, Cumming, Norcross, Stone Mountain, Lawrenceville, College Park and other Metro Atlanta area communities. If you’re ready to invest in professional property management for your Atlanta area rental properties, call DKRentals.net today.