In 2019, the national median rent for a one-bedroom apartment was $1,216.
As rents continue to increase, this means that individuals who own rental properties have a great potential to make profits. But that's only true if you choose the right tenants during the rental application process.
You want to choose tenants who are responsible and financially capable of meeting their rental obligations. Finding those tenants takes time and knowledge around screening a tenant.
Before you sign your next lease, read this quick guide to choosing a tenant.
1. The Most Important Info in the Application Process
Before you start accepting applications, you need to know what to ask. The most important things you want to know about include income, credit, employment, criminal background, and residence history.
You can find out about current employment status by asking for an employer's contact and verifying job title and salary. In terms of credit, you can check the credit score of any applicant online. Background checks can be provided by the applicant and will tell you if they have any criminal convictions while residence history can be evaluated through references.
2. Screening a Tenant Online
If you’ve put out a rental ad and received a bunch of prospective tenants, you need to narrow down that giant pool of applicants to just a few people. You can do that with a little online background research.
A rental application only tells you so much, but you can get to know someone relatively well through their online public profiles. Look at your applicant's Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn profiles to get a sense of who you're considering when choosing a tenant.
3. Conduct an Interview
This is where you can perform tenant screening in person and learn more about them. You might start with a phone call interview or head straight to a face-to-face meeting.
During the interview, you can ask any questions you might have from the prescreening process. It's a good idea to let tenants ask questions, too. This will tell you whether your priorities are in line as well as give you a sense of what's important to them.
4. Accepting or Declining Applicants
Reasons for declining an applicant include income concerns regarding their ability to pay rent, bad credit or eviction history, or a criminal history that poses a potential risk to you, your unit, or your other tenants. Reasons to accept an applicant include stable work history, a great credit score, good reviews from previous landlords, and an income that will allow them to pay the rent.
Whether you decide to accept or decline a tenant, you should let them know. It's a simple courtesy to inform applicants of whether or not they'll be living in your home soon.
More Help With Your Rental Property
Tenant screening is the most important part of owning a rental property. Choosing the right tenant will impact the success of your rental property venture. That's why the application process should involve prescreening, interviewing, and then choosing a tenant.
And if you require additional help with your property, there are many ways in which we can assist. Learn more about what we do here.