Tenant screening is one of the most important elements of owning a rental property. A tenant can look great on paper but be completely different in person, which will set the tone for the term of their lease with you. While there are some standard questions to ask potential tenants, these ideas look beyond and can help protect your investments.

Request Photos of Any Pets

Request a photo of any pets that may potentially be living in your rental property. Tenants may stretch the truth about their pets. That small dog they said they have, may actually be what you consider to be a medium sized dog or that medium sized dog they said they have may be a large sized dog in your opinion. Pets are not always a bad thing, and allowing them in your rentals opens your potential tenant pool. Requesting a photo of a pet can allow you to relax about accepting a tenant with pets, and decrease your stress about it.

Perform an Online Search

The internet is you’re a fantastic option to learn more about your applicants. Landlords and property managers can learn a ton just from Facebook and LinkedIn alone. Facebook can give you a look into your applicant’s personal life. LinkedIn can show you people you may have in common with an applicant allowing you to reach out to mutual connections if necessary. LinkedIn is also great for verifying employment and looking at work history.

Collect an Application Fee

Collecting an application fee is a great option for many real estate investment companies. These fees are not a profit generator, but is a means to cover the costs associated with screening applicants as it can be time consuming. An application fee ensures tenants think hard about submitting an application, and defers them from backing out after you’ve spent time looking over their application. You do not want to establish a reputation of taking fees and not accepting time and time again. A great way to go about it is to refund the individuals should they not meet your requirements, but keep the fee if they falsify their application or back out.

Understand Their Reasons for Moving

Is your applicant moving because their place is too small, or its too far away from their workplace? It’s important to understand the reasons someone is moving, to ensure your rental is the right fit for them. If they’re moving because of space, and your unit is larger and closer to work, there is a good chance the will stay for the long term.

Provide Verification of your Terms

It’s important that the tenant is on the same page with the terms you expect. All your terms should be clearly outlined in the lease, but many individuals do not read the lease. Sending an email or letter as a rental acceptance term letter with a summary of terms included such as rent, deposit, term, who pays what utilities, parking, etc. is an excellent way to cover yourself and give your tenant the absolute must have information from your lease. Sending this short letter can save you potential headaches in the long run.

The tenant screening process is one that needs to be on the top of your priority list. Taking the time to properly screen can significantly impact your profits in your real estate business. If you need help to establish a proper tenant screening program, Ultimate Property Investments is here to help.