How to locate and qualify the best tenants

When managing a rental property, one of your best investments will be the people who live in it. That may come as a surprise when there are so many other things to consider, such as maintenance, management and marketing.

But sourcing quality tenants, who will take care of their temporary home, communicate their needs and pay on time, will create consistency. And stability is one of the most valuable commodities in the rental world.

The reason property owners, investors and managers desire dependability is because turnover costs a lot of time and money for all parties involved. For example, every time a renter leaves, there are cost and burdens associated with vacancy. That unit must also be checked for possible damage and repairs, cleaning and staging.

And unless you live in an area where there are viable tenants lining up at your door, you must account for the time, human resources and finances involved with marketing that property. And the list goes on.

Clearly, it’s in every property owner’s best interest to take time upfront to source and secure quality tenants who are interested in renting for an extended period of time or are in a life stage where it makes sense to do so.

So how to you go about ensuring that you can find these kinds of tenants? Here are a few tips that we’ve learned during a long stint in the property-management business.

Whether you’re new to being a landlord or want to learn smarter ways to locate longer-term people for a conglomerate of properties or multi-unit facilities, it’s worth considering these key points.

Build a good product. Attracting a top tenant requires having a top product. First and foremost, make sure the renter you want to attract would want to live in the space you are renting. Would you live in it?

Keep it clean. Along the same lines, diligently maintain your property. Have it professionally cleaned and make sure it’s fully functional when you are presenting it to potential renters. If you are cutting corners, you might be inviting people who will do the same when they occupy your property. Better tenants are attracted to better homes.

Maximize your earning potential. In order to get the most the market will bear, make the most of your property. If you upgrade and maintain your investment, you will able to charge more for rent. In the process you will find that you will entice higher-quality people who care about the form and function of their living environment.

Spend time screening. The screening process is one place where landlords sometimes skimp. Don’t fall into this trap just to get a renter into a vacant property promptly. You need to ensure your tenants truly have the means to pay the rent and a history that proves they are capable of taking care of a home or apartment. A thorough application and assessment should include:

  • Current employment verification
  • Three times the monthly rent in household income
  • Credit check requiring a low level of any accounts in collection
  • Criminal background check
  • References from prior landlords
  • Automatic denial policy for prior eviction

While renting a home or other type of property is ultimately a financial transaction, don’t forget to focus on your people right alongside profit. Finding the right tenant can mean the difference between a high-touch, high-stress situation and a low-maintenance, low-anxiety relationship. Good luck!