As a property owner, sometimes finding the property is the easy part. Choosing who will live in the property is a different story. It only makes sense for you to accept tenants who you feel will leave the property as they found it and also pay rent on time, so there are few headaches with which to deal. Although no one may ever care for the property in the same way you do, it’s possible to find the perfect tenant for your rental property using the following guide.
Use an Agent
Don’t try to cut costs by not allowing real estate agents to bring you tenants. The small fee they require is worth having a connection with someone who has a constant flow of people looking for a place to live. Reach out to an agent or get to know one or two who bring you tenants. Create a working relationship that allows them to easily bring renters. You, in turn, can recommend them as an agent when your tenants leave in search of a home to purchase.
Advertise Your Rental
In order to find the right tenant, you’ve got to let the world know your rental is available. Advertise on social media. Ask friends to share your information. Use online real estate advertising avenues to help you out. Depending on where you live, a sign in the yard may be helpful. Just check with the HOA if your rental is in a neighborhood. Word of mouth always works well to attract potential tenants, so make sure everyone you meet knows you’re in the rental property business. As you advertise, always include clear contact information, such as a phone number and website.
Another fun form of advertising is to host a rental open house. Let the neighbors know what’s going on and encourage them to visit even if they aren’t in the market for a home. Open houses are a great way to get to know everyone in the neighborhood or apartment complex and the perfect way to get the word out that your rental is available and worth looking at.
Set Income Requirements
Setting income requirements for your rental property doesn’t make you a selfish person. It makes you a wise businessperson. You have a minimum dollar amount you need each month to make ends meet and hopefully make a profit. In order to reach that amount, you require a certain amount of rent for your property. Verifying the income of potential renters gives you a clear picture of whether or not they can truly afford the rent. If it looks like they can’t, there’s a good chance you’ll be missing that monthly rent now and then.
As a property owner, you have a right to feel safe and secure, knowing that your tenants can easily cover the rent. Setting income requirements makes things easier for those looking for a rental, as well as for yourself as the property owner. Renters don’t want to find a rental they love, only to be caught off guard by the fact that their income isn’t high enough. When everyone gives clear and honest information upfront, you can avoid those issues.
References from people who aren’t friends or family of the applicant are a quick way to hear what others think about your potential renter. Don’t ask for references and neglect to use them. They’re worth your time. Ask applicants to list past landlords, managers at work, or other coworkers.
Be careful when screening references. Ask detailed questions so you know the renter hasn’t asked a friend to pose as a manager or landlord. Using the timeline for jobs and rentals the applicant gave you is a good guideline to help screen references. If anything seems suspicious, politely decline the applicant, and move on to the next.
It feels difficult at times, snooping into the lives of applicants, but there’s really no other way to gain confidence in this person who wants to live in your rental property. Credit history clearly shows how a potential renter pays their debts—either on time, always late, or ignored completely.
It’s okay to set the credit score at a number that’s comfortable for you and not accept lower scores. Also, to be fair, if an applicant comes to you wanting to explain why there was a season of poor credit and can show you how it’s improving, take that into account. Sometimes periods of life, such as divorce, hurt a person’s credit history. Still, you have the right to choose what makes you comfortable.
There are many online services available to landlords to run a background check. Background checks go beyond credit history, showing criminal records, addresses, and employment. They give an added step of security when finding the perfect tenant for your rental property.
Require a Security Deposit
Security deposits show a landlord that the applicant is serious and has set aside enough money to make renting possible. An inability to pay a security deposit shows just the opposite—the applicant is unprepared to rent. Always require a good size deposit.
Hire a Property Manager
With everything that goes on when renting a property, the last thing a property manager has time for is screening applicants. That’s where property managers come in. Not only does a property manager search and find the perfect tenants, but a full-service property manager takes care of everything, so you don’t have to. Here’s a list of what full-service property managers do:
- Market and advertise
- Collect rent
- Find tenants
- Update applications
- Keep up the property, inside and out
- Act as the point of contact for tenants
The property manager is an essential middleman for property owners.
Hopefully, our guide for finding the perfect tenant for your rental property has given you a clear picture of the steps that you should complete in order for a smooth rental process to take place. At Excalibur Homes, we were voted “Best in Georgia” for a reason. We are passionate about real estate and understand the needs of property owners. Excalibur offers full-service Georgia lease and property management for our rental property owners. Contact us for all of your real estate and property investment needs.