Everyone at one time or another has had to deal with someone unpleasant. Teachers, coworkers, managers, and yes in-laws, can make one want to pull their hair out. However, it’s a different story when that someone is a tenant of your investment property.
Bad tenants can create more than hair loss. Loss of time and money can turn a good investment into one that has a break-even point somewhere in the distant future. Dealing with troublesome tenants is one of the biggest obstacles to owning Real Estate. But with a solid plan, losses can be stopped before going bald.
The process of screening tenants can be time-consuming, which can translate into lost revenue. It’s critical to have a method to filter out potential tenants that are a bad fit quickly. This will reduce stress and protect evenings spent at the property playing tour guide.
At first contact with a potential tenant, ask a few simple questions like:
- Why are you moving?
- Why did you choose this area?
- When do you plan to make the move?
- How long do you plan to rent the property?
It’s essential to make them feel comfortable and to get them talking about themselves and their family if they have one. The point of the questions is to gain insight and find a solution that fits for both the investor and the tenant. It’s best to address a bad fit straight away and offer alternate solutions. Schedule the tour at a time that allows the prospective tenant time to review the contents of the application.
Get To The Point
Once the understanding of the situation has a solid foundation, move to the qualifications. For Example:
- State monthly rent, cost of security deposit, and any fees like background and credit checks.
- Pet policy and any associated fees.
- Requirements of any maintenance like upkeep of the landscape.
- What is NOT included- like electricity and gas, waste, and snow removal.
- Clean criminal history.
- Clean eviction history.
- The minimum credit score.
Before the Tour
An application can be sent to the prospective tenant for their review before looking at the property. The application will reinforce the conversation about all qualifications. They may have it completed before the tour or have it in hand during the tour.
After The Tour
The process continues with ensuring that the application is thoroughly and carefully cross-checked with criminal credit and eviction histories. There are many different resources to assist with this process. Having a local property management company with experience in the area will help. At Blue Mountain, we do the screening ourselves. We conduct in-depth credit and background checks on each applicant, and we visit social media pages and look at online reputations.
Rental contracts can be tricky and if not crafted correctly, and it will only add additional stress if you’re faced with a bad tenant. We will address issues concerning the contract in the next blog.