Performing an in-depth tenant background check is one of the most important steps to placing a good tenant you will face as a landlord. Learn more about the process in our latest post!
For most landlords, locating, securing, and screening tenants is one of the things they look forward to the least. However, you never want to speed through the process just to fill a vacancy quickly. Allowing a poor tenant to rent your property will only end up costing you time and money in the long run. Make sure you stick to the process and take all precautions needed in order to protect yourself from tenant nightmares down the road.
1. Information Gathering
Any tenant you are considering must begin the process by filling out a rental application. This application will tell you many things about the applicant and should include thefields such as:
- Their name
- social security number
- previous addresses
- phone number
- previous landlord information
- job history and references
- monthly income.
You also need to ask for their banking information if you plan on running a credit check. You will need a signed authorization to run a background check, criminal history report and credit check. A credit check will require a special authorization form in order to be compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
2. Carefully Review For Red Flags
Before investing in professional background checks, look for things on your own that might lead to tenant drama. For example, they list many jobs within a small period of time. Or their references seem a bit shady… like maybe they are using their friends instead of actual work references. It is fine to change jobs, but if they aren’t able to hold one down, they may have trouble coming up with rent each month.
3. Meet With The Potential Tenant In Person
This is a person you will have many interactions with so you will want to make sure you get along. They will be living in your home and you need to feel comfortable with them being there. It is important to make sure this is someone of strong character, who is honest and who will treat your property as if it were there own. Of course, you won’t be able to tell all of this from one meeting, but you will be able to get a pretty good idea of what kind of person they are. Just like a job interview, ask a lot of questions. Ask them why they are moving, are they a smoker, do they have pets? Will they want pets in the future? Do they often have friends or family staying with them? While you don’t want to be too intrusive, these kinds of things are important when choosing tenants for your San Antonio home.
4. Background Checks Are Your Friend
Take the time to run a credit check using the scores from the three major reporting bureaus. The background check must be done by an approved Consumer reporting agency according to the fair credit reporting act. This background check will show things like past criminal activity and if they are a registered sex offender. Some of these reports require a fee, so be prepared. You can offset this cost by including an application fee with the completed application. This will also ensure the prospective tenants you are working with are serious about renting your place.
5. Call On References
Properly checking references can be a vital way to gain additional perspective on your potential tenant. You will want to reach out to past and present employers as applicable. Also, speak to previous landlords and roommates if possible This will give you a better idea of how they are day to day. You can ask for personal references as well, but these will likely simply friends of the applicant who won’t typically have any disparaging remarks.
6. The Final Decision
This shouldn’t be taken into lightly. Think about all of the factors and what you have learned about the prospective tenant. Listen to your gut and don’t rent to anyone you are unsure about. Having the wrong tenant living in your San Antonio renatl property can cost you a fortune.
But Wait! What if…
7. Other Options
If going through the steps of finding the perfect tenant who will properly care for your property and make timely rental payments seems overwhelming, it can be. Maybe you didn’t follow steps 1-6 the last time you placed a tenant. Maybe you are an accidental landlord and it hasn’t worked out so well. Maybe you have a tenant who stopped paying rent but is still living in your rental. If you are facing any of these types of scenarios and have decided you would rather sell your rental property, Capstone Homebuyers can give you a hand. We pride ourselves on helping tired landlords by paying a fair price when we buy homes. We can even buy the house with delinquent tenants. Whatever your unique situation, if you’ve decided to sell your house and would like to sell it quickly, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to show you why our client’s love us.