How do you choose tenants for your rental property? Learn how to choose between prospective tenants with our complete tutorial here.
The phone call is often first point of contact between you and potential renters, giving you an early chance to weed out any undesirable tenants.
In addition to knowing what to ask (Click here for our complete list of important tenant screening questions), a good landlord must learn how to listen between the lines as well.
When you're choosing between tenants, observe their voice tone their attitude when chatting with potential tenants. Are they pleasant and sincere or do they come across as impatient and demanding? Red flags include agreeing to rent your property without even viewing and threatening to find another landlord.
"What is your reason for leaving your current address?" is the most crucial question to ask potential tenants on the phone. Valid reasons include getting a new job, going to a new school or accessing nearby amenities. If they are moving due to problems with their current lease, then you need to sit up and pay attention:
"The place that I'm currently staying in is falling apart." - You have to check if the place is indeed that shabby or it is due to the tenant's failure to clean and maintain the property.
"My landlord isn't understanding at all." - Is the landlord really a nasty grouch or is the tenant causing too much trouble?
The person who said "You can't judge by its cover." obviously was never a landlord. To choose tenants who will treat your properties right, you'll need to observe their physical appearance and personal cleanliness.
When meeting a potential tenant for the first time, pay close attention to his grooming and dressing - Is he neat and presentable or is he a sloppy mess?
Whether they are decked out in the latest Milan fashion doesn't matter. What matters is that they should care enough to appear clean and tidy. People who don't bother with their personal cleanliness often won't make much effort to clean and maintain the place they're staying in.
Does your tenant drive? If he does, check out the condition of his car. Is the car reasonably clean? Does the look and sound of the car give you the impression that time and effort has been spent maintaining it?
Remember once again that the age and type of the vehicle isn't important. What matters is whether the car has been badly neglected. After all, will you count on someone neglects his own car to take good care of a property which he doesn't even own?
When you choose tenants, you're also choosing people who will be staying with them - In this case, we'll referring to their children in particular. While the parents may make excellent tenants, it's possible that their children are living terrors. Other than screaming destructive toddlers, be sure to watch out for rebellious teenagers who are just as bad.
Once you have interviewed and screened potential renters, you need to run background checks on all shortlisted tenants to make sure that they have no criminal or eviction records: