If you’re a landlord who’s been burned by bad tenants before, you know the importance of finding quality renters and how difficult that can be. But it’s not a time to throw in the towel. Statistics show that more people rent their homes now than at any other point in the last 50 years, and that means owning rental properties is a booming business. Here is our step-by-step guide for making sure you get the best tenants.
Present your property in the best light
You might think bagging great tenants starts with the tenants, but that’s not the case. First, you have to make sure your property is a place where a quality tenant wants to live. In other words, good renters have their choice of houses, so what makes yours stand out from the rest? The first way to keep your property appealing is to keep it up-to-date on all repairs. You also need to keep it freshly painted and touch up any areas that start to peel or wear. Lawns should be well-manicured at all times, and it wouldn’t hurt to hire a landscape artist to spruce them up.
Staging a rental home is also a great way to make the home look as upscale as possible. You don’t have to do a lot, but nice window treatments, rugs, and some well-placed floral arrangements go a long way.
Set guidelines for ideal renters
Once you’ve made sure your property will attract quality tenants, you need to decide exactly who those tenants will be. For example, will they have an income which is triple the price of rent? Will they have at least a 650 credit score? You need to set your standards and stick with them in the beginning. This is also the time to decide whether or not you will allow pets or smoking. Of course, if you find that your standards are too high and you are unable to find renters who meet them, you may need to adjust them a bit. Talk to other landlords in your area for tips if you are new to the landlord business. Just check that your standards are not breaking any discrimination laws and communicate with potential renters openly about why they were denied.
Screen potential tenants thoroughly
In order to determine whether possible renters meet your standards, you need a good screening process. You can get every applicant a free rental application so you can check their credit and background for anything that you might consider a red flag. For example, even if they have a good income, a very low credit score could mean they’ll still fail to pay their rent on time. You can also check for previous evictions or judgments to see if they have a history of negative financial behaviors. Again, set your standards and stick to them. This will help you keep your emotions out of the process and land you better tenants.
It’s important to note that no process can guarantee you’ll have the best tenants 100 percent of the time, but taking the time to learn about your tenants will get you pretty close. Most people with good credit and stellar backgrounds like to keep it that way. They’re more apt to follow the rules, take care of the property, and pay their rent on time. And there hasn’t been a better time in 50 years to make money as a landlord. As long as you have mostly good tenants and treat them well, you will have no problem making a great living.