The keys to finding highly qualified tenants are to market your property strategically and to screen the applications thoroughly. Today, we’re talking about how to manage tenant screening and what you’ll need to do to ensure you’re renting your Contra Costa County property out to the best possible residents.

Make the Property Appealing to Great Tenants

First, you need a clean and habitable property where everything works. It helps to have a modern, updated home, but even if it’s not updated, you’ll find plenty of people who want to live in a clean property where the appliances work. So, before you even begin to show the property or collect applications, make sure you’ve had the property professionally cleaned. Pay attention to curb appeal, and make the home inviting.

Online Rental Property Advertising

Post an advertisement on all of the popular online rental sites. You’ll want your listing to include pictures as well as everything tenants need to know. Your ad should be detailed and accurate. The pictures should be professional and attractive. Make sure the lighting is right and the photos show off the best aspects of the property. Then, be responsive when people start calling with questions. Schedule showings at times that are convenient for your prospective tenants.

Checking Applicant Backgrounds

As people begin to see the property and express interest, you’ll need to provide an application. The application should gather all of the important information that you need to conduct a thorough background check. Before someone applies, provide them with a copy of your rental criteria so they know what their application will be judged against. You want the tenant screening process to be fair and consistent. Treat every application the same.

Your screening process should start with the applicant’s credit report. Take a look at how the applicant handles debt and bill payments. You don’t want to rent to anyone with prior evictions or a record of money owed to former landlords or apartment buildings. Check the report for past residences, and talk to former landlords. Ask them if rent was paid on time, if the tenants followed the terms of the lease agreement, and if any property damage was left behind.

Check employment and income as well. You want to verify that the applicant works where they say they work. Income verification is also important because you need to be sure that your tenants can afford to pay your rent. Find out if the prospective tenants have pets or any kind of assistance animal.

Approving the Application

Once someone has passed your minimum screening criteria, let them know right away that their application is approved. Be excited about it! Ask them up front for a deposit, and get it in certified funds. Then, let your new tenants know exactly what the next steps are so they know what’s expected.

Approving the ApplicationWith a thorough screening process, the people who move in will be great tenants for your rental property.

If you have any questions about tenant screening or any other rental property questions, please contact us at Stokley Properties.