The start of a new year is a great time to begin a new life in a new home. Tenants are always on the lookout for the perfect rental property, but as a landlord, you’re on the lookout for the perfect tenants. Knowing what to look for in a tenant and knowing the best methods of finding them can help you save time and money.
I have had two rental properties and getting a good tenant can be hard. We lucked out on our first one and then had an awful one. The search for perfect tenants can be stressful, especially if you are new to owning property or don’t have much landlord experience. Being prepared and organized with your search can ease the process and will attract the right tenants to your rental property.
Here are 5 ways to find the perfect tenants for your rental property:
#1 Always Use A Lease Agreement
A lease agreement is essential and legally required. It will clearly lay out the terms and conditions for any tenants living on your rental property. A typical lease agreement states rent due date and amount, details who will live on the property/who will pay rent, penalties, and causes for eviction.
You’ll also need to determine the lease length; are you looking to place a person in your rental property for a year? Perhaps you’d like to offer the flexibility of a month-to-month lease. Whatever you decide, ensure that the tenants you select understand and comply with the lease agreement.
In the past, we have found lease agreements online for pretty cheap. Some may even be free.
#2 Know and Understand the Laws
The most important piece of legislation to understand as a landlord is the Fair Housing Act, which states that you cannot discriminate against qualified tenants based on factors such as race, gender, religion, etc. This does not mean, however, that you can’t base your decision on criminal history.
Legal experts and/or landlord organizations can also act as resources when researching potential tenants and can help you feel prepared and knowledgeable during this process.
Also, remember some states require you to have a separate bank account for any deposits tenants may give you. It's a good idea to look up landlord laws in the particular state you are in.
#3 Advertise Intelligently
Be wary of advertising for your rental property on websites such as Craigslist, which can attract scammers. Advertise on trustworthy property sites dedicated solely to renting/buying property.
If you’re using flyers, post them in local coffee shops and grocery stores within a close radius of your rental property. Distance should be listed on the flyer since proximity can be deciding factors for many tenants. Always list the size of the property, number of rooms/bathrooms, any special features of the property (e.g. pool), the rent amount, and your contact information.
#4 Require an Application and Background Check
A full screening of tenants is perhaps the most important part of this process. A tenant can seem qualified during a first impression, but only a background check and information from their application can truly tell you the type of tenant they’ve been in the past—and could be in the future.
Most landlords want to get an insight into an applicant’s financial history and for good reason. The best credit checks for landlords will show you the debts and financial patterns in an applicant’s past. This can be a great way to determine if they’ll be capable of making timely payments each month.
It is also a good idea that you also ask for personal references in the application to get a sense of the potential tenant’s personality and character. Don’t feel obligated to choose (or not choose) a tenant based on one factor. Consider all the information available to make an educated decision.
#5 Keep Your Property Spotless
Maintaining a high-quality property is the ultimate way to attract high-quality tenants. Cleanliness can go a long way, especially if is a characteristic of the tenant. Keeping your rental property clean and visually pleasing will draw in high-quality applicants.
Hire a cleaning service to make your property a standout during open house viewings and make sure you have the best smart lock for Airbnb on your front door. These things can really set you apart from the rest.
Remember that you as a landlord have more control than tenants, and don’t feel rushed in your process. Taking your time can ensure you place the right person in your rental property. This can prevent costly turnovers, vacancies, and potential legal trouble in the long run. As long as you are prepared, do your research, and trust your instincts, you will have no problem choosing the perfect tenants!
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