After purchasing a property for investment, you want to ensure that you place the right tenants into the property – ideally, the first time around. This is because the eviction process can be a long, tedious, and expensive ordeal. With that in mind, going through certain steps for screening potential tenants can help you to eliminate potential issues before they ever begin.

In fact, from the very first time you ever meet with a potential tenant, the screening process has essentially begun. Typically, this contact will take place via phone. This is where you provide to the individual (or individuals) the amount you will be charging for rent and the security deposit, along with other important criteria. In some cases, this alone could be enough to disqualify certain contacts.

When you have this initial discussion with a potential tenant, you should have a list of questions to ask them. These should include the following:

  • Name:
  • Phone Number:
  • Reason for Moving:
  • Intended Term of Rental:
  • Date of Occupancy:
  • Pets:
  • Smoker / Non-Smoker:
  • Number of People Who Will Occupy the Property:
  • Credit Score:
  • Prior Landlord Reference:

Provided that the first contact goes well and the individual wishes to proceed and view the property, then there are certain screening factors that can also help to give you an idea of whether or not the individual may make for a good tenant. For example, does he or she appear to be neat and clean? Are they respectful? Do they criticize the property?

If all goes well during the property showing and the individual moves on to the application process, ask them to fill out the rental application completely. As a part of the application process, you should run a credit report. It is also suggested that you collect an application fee.

Provided that the applicant appears to be a good fit, the next step is to have them sign a lease. Here, it is important to use a quality residential lease. At this time, you should also collect a security deposit, as well as the first month’s rent.

Screening tenants can be a somewhat time-consuming process, but it helps to ensure you find the right tenants for your investment property. This is why many real estate investors turn to a property manager to tend to all of the details. In addition to finding and screening tenants, a good, quality property manager will also take care of maintenance and other related issues.

For more information on how using a property manager can help you to get more out of your real estate investments, contact us.