So you’ve invested in some property and are looking to rent it out to potential tenants. Or perhaps you’re having trouble selling your home and are thinking about renting it out instead.
Either way, it can be an unsettling feeling knowing that someone else will be living in your property. How do you know if who you’re renting to is responsible, safe, and tidy? Will you even be able to attract any great renters?
There are plenty of tenant horror stories to ward off even the idea of renting out your property. But follow these four easy tips on finding wonderful tenants, and you’ll never be jaded by reckless or lazy tenants again.
Know the Law
This should go without saying, but you’d be surprised at how many landlords have accidentally violated the Fair Housing Act. The FHA explicitly outlines what constitutes discrimination when selecting future tenants.
For example, rejecting an applicant based on credit score or criminal history is non-discriminatory, but basing your decision on race or sexuality is illegal. Make sure you brush up on federal and state laws to avoid any potential legal action.
Know Where to Advertise
Some landlords might seem reluctant to advertise their space, particularly on the internet. However, when trying to find a good tenant, you want to cast a wide net.
It’s okay to be cautious when interviewing and showing the space for safety concerns, but the more people you have interested in your property, the bigger chance you’ll have at finding a dozen people who meet your standards.
Also consider who you would like to rent your place to—posting fliers in grocery stores or local parenting/family magazines might attract families or young couples looking to start a family, while posting on websites such as roommates.com or Craigslist might attract younger, single, individuals—possibly students or recent graduates.
Either way, the wider your net, the larger pool you have to choose from, so don’t be afraid to show off your home.
Do Your Preliminary Research
As a landlord, you never want to rush over background checks, credit checks, employment verification, and salary verification. This is the part where you want to exercise extreme attention-to-detail and be very thorough.
Use a certified landlord credit check service, employment verification service, or criminal history check to ensure you’re getting the right person for the property. Make sure you complete each background check in order of receipt and be patient.
You want to make sure that whomever you rent your property to is of sound character and can support him or herself. Make sure your applicants are patient, too. The right tenant will understand that security, safety, and peace of mind are highest priority during the renting process.
Show, Don’t Tell
When the showing part of the process comes along, make sure your home is clean and orderly. It’s been proven that a messy home can cause stress and our mental health to deteriorate.
Many eager tenants can respond to a posting within hours and are willing to see your home within a 24-hour period, so consider hiring a cleaning service and making any repairs before your advertisement even goes live.
A good rule to remember is that the first potential applicants who respond and visit your home are the most motivated and organized. These potential tenants also tend to make more conscientious choices when renting out someone’s home, so it’s better to impress them with a clean space. Make a mess, and attract messy tenants.
Take these top tips into mind and you’re sure to find yourself a reliable, responsible, and hygienic tenant, which in turn will make your job as a landlord much easier.
It’s possible that the right tenant could become a long-term one. You’ll end up paying much more if you rush the process just to simply fill a room quickly.