Is your property located near a college or a large company? Although you're blessed with a potential surfeit of tenant applications for your rental property, you may be at a loss because most of them are from outside the state. Accepting tenants from your own state can be daunting on its own. For your out-of-state applicants, you'll find yourself in a much better position if you streamline the process. Don't assume you will run into a problem. Instead, conduct proper research and follow these four checkpoints when considering out-of-state applicants. With this genius checklist, you'll have access to the crème de la crème of tenant applications -- even if they are outside the state.

1. Ask for an In-Person Meeting
This is a crucial factor in helping you feel comfortable with a potential tenant. Many out-of-town applicants send their friends or family in the first stages of the home inspection process, which is absolutely fine. However, they may disappear after you've signed the lease agreement, forcing you to start over again. If you're considering renting your home to serious applicants, you may want to organize an in-person meeting to establish your own comfort factor. You can conduct video conversations via Google Chat, Skype, or Facetime if an in-person meeting isn't possible. This will help you get to know your tenant better.

2. Phone, Background Check, and Online Pre-screening
You should pre-screen all potential tenants over the phone before deciding whether they are worth your while. Ask as many questions as you deem necessary, but stay away from biased questions about religion, ethnicity, and nationality. Ask questions that warrant a proper answer that isn't a yes/no scenario. For example, why is he moving to your town? What employment opportunities does she seek? What is he looking for in a home? These questions warrant longer answers, and the answers provided will help you assess an applicant's personality. Undertake a background check to look for payment history, debts, unpaid installments, outstanding loans, and criminal records. A background check is exceptionally important when you're dealing with out-of-state applicants. Finally, the online presence of a person is a reflection of their personality -- so be sure to look through social media pages like Facebook and Twitter. Does he party often? Does he seem responsible? Does he attract controversy? Social media has great power to echo a person's personality -- use it to your advantage.

3. Obtain Character References
Ask the applicant for character references from previous landlords and employers. Previous landlords are in the best position to offer you an objective opinion about the tenant; they are exactly what you need. Employers will help you determine whether your potential applicant is a long-stay or fickle-minded person. For an out-of-state applicant, you may want to ask for an additional reference -- preferably from a local club or institution to which he belongs -- to get better insight into his or her dealings with society. The president of a local club or a high school principal makes a good reference.

4. Get Everything in Writing
Create an application to get everything in writing from your potential out-of-state applicant. This is important, since you won't meet your prospect in the initial stages. Here are some guidelines:

  • Previous employers/colleges.
  • Income/parents' income (if being supported by parents).
  • Ability to handle fees like security deposit and utilities.
  • Financial information -- bank accounts, credit card debt, and average monthly balance.
  • Character reference contacts.
  • Previous evictions.
  • Contact numbers of family members or emergency contact person.
  • Lifestyle -- smoker/non-smoker, pets/no pets.

These checkpoints will help you determine whether your potential out-of-state tenant is the right choice for your home.

POSTED June 24 2015 10:27 AM

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