Marketing a rental can be a full-time job while you're at it. If you manage your own properties then you know exactly what all goes into finding a what you hope will be that perfect tenant for it. You have to prepare the rental. This can be anything from hiring a cleaning service to make sure that it's clean when applicants begin to apply to taking advantage of it being vacant for a short amount of time and updating the property. If damage has been done to the unit you'll need to get that taken care of before the new tenant moves in, but it may be a good idea to take care of it even before you put it on the market if that's possible.
Next comes pictures. When you list a property for rent, you'll want to make sure that you publish high-quality photos and as many as you can so that the interested potential-renters get the best idea of the layout that they can. People are more likely to show interest in a home that they can see before actually going to the property itself.
Listing on multiple listing sites is always a good idea. It helps you reach out to a wide variety of people to find the best possible tenant that you can find. While more applicants means that you'll work a little harder, it'll be worth it if you can land one of those fantastic tenants that treats your property as their own and pays rent on time each month.
Once the applications start flowing in, one of the best ways to start your first round of screenings is by requiring a tenant screening to be run. Check your local laws to see if there are any limitations as to what you may charge and post that amount on the listing so that the applicants are aware. Someone who is unwilling to pay for the screening would likely not have been a good candidate. You never want to accept a tenant without screening them first.
A tenant screening will often include both a credit and criminal check. A credit check will always require permission from the applicant. Some screening companies make it easier on the landlord by reaching out to the applicant directly and receiving permission to obtain the report, though some landlords will still feel more secure if they receive a signed form as well. This may be the case if you need to pass the report on to a property manager or if you are the property manager and need to pass it on to the landlord.
When it comes to a tenant that will be moving into your rental, you may not want to limit yourself just to a credit and criminal check. Prior landlord checks are a good practice and you should ask for two or three prior landlords. You may call or write to them, requesting information. Some landlords may be hesitant to answer questions so that they do not cost the tenant their next home, but you should have a list of questions set up when you first place the call.
Finding a tenant takes a lot of work, but when you find the right one it is worth it.
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