groupCommon sense says that you would prefer a less-than-perfect tenant over no tenant at all, right? If your property sits vacant for any length of time, it opens it up to possible vandalism, pests, and other problems that come with no one actively living in the home. That, and it doesn't bring in any income. Obviously those are things that every landlord wants to avoid, but jumping at the first interested party that comes to rent the property without properly screening them may land you with more money out of your pocket than in.

The first step to finding quality may begin before you think. Buying a property in a high-end neighborhood does not guarantee high-end tenants, nor does buying one in a lower-income neighborhood automatically mean your tenant will not be able to pay their rents, but you'll want to make sure that you do your research. Is the neighborhood/city you're buying in friendly to landlords and rental properties? Is the property closed to schools, shops, restaurants, and grocery stores? How are other landlords in the area doing with their properties? Do your research before even buying the property to make sure you're not setting yourself up for failure.

Next, screen your tenant thoroughly. This doesn't mean that you ask them for a couple of references and think about calling them. Run a full screening on them. This means at least a credit and criminal check, but running an eviction check, following up with prior landlords, and with their place of employment is a good idea as well. Make sure you know who you're renting to. Also, don't limit your search to just one tenant. If there are three adults moving in, you should run three screenings.

This may be more work for you and it may take a bit longer to find just the right tenant, but in the end a bad tenant can cost as much or more as a vacant rental property.
POSTED February 13 2014 10:31 AM

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