Property Management Blog

How to rent your rental property by pre-screening tenants

Mo Hashem - Monday, May 7, 2018

One of the most time consuming steps of renting your home is finding a well qualified tenant. Of the numerous renter leads you are receiving, how do you know which to move forward with and not waste time with the others who wouldn't meet your qualifications. You can save yourself a headache and a ton of wasted time if you have a game plan on how to properly pre-screen a potential renter.

  • Timeframe
  • Credit Score
  • Pets
  • Availability
  • Length
  • Awareness

These are all things I will review in this article, how to pre-screen your potential tenant before you even take the time out of your day to show the property.

The first of the many questions you want to ask when screening a tenant is, what's your timeframe? If the tenant has a different time frame of starting the lease compared to when you would ideally want the property rented, then state that timeframe and see if it's a possibility for one or the other to make a concession so it would work. If not, then right then and there that disqualifies the tenant.

Another important question you would want to ask while screening potential tenants is simply asking them "what is your credit score"? Specifically, ask for the credit score number and don’t take “ I have good credit or I have bad credit” as an answer. If somebody gives you a number below the set standard that you have set then there's no need to have the tenant meet you at the property since it’s not going to be a good fit for your property.

Third, you want to ask yourself, are you a landlord that's going to be accepting pets? If so what restrictions? That's another pre-screen question that you want to ask ahead of time before you actually commit to showing the property. You want to get that out in the clear ahead of time.

Another question you want to ask while screening potential tenants is, "Will everybody that's going to be living or part of this lease going to be with you when I show this property?” You want to try to set up a time that's ideal for all of the people to meet you at that property so you only have to show it once and answer all of their questions at one time. This will save you from making multiple trips back and forth to the property.

Also, the length of the lease the prospective tenants are considering. Is it a short-term rental, a long-term rental, a one-year rental? For example, you want a three-year lease because you know that benefits you as a homeowner and are guaranteed to get rent for three years. However, the tenant is considering a one year term, you should not disqualify them just because they want to sign for one year only. A lot of times, especially with our tenants, they sign one-year leases but always end up renewing at the end of that lease to another year or potentially two years. If you would have limited yourself to people that only want to sign a three-year lease, you're limiting the pool of tenants that could possibly rent your home.

Lastly, pictures are just as important and you want to be sure to have plenty. When screening a potential tenant you may want to ask them what drew them to that property so you know they've had an opportunity to look at all the pictures. You want to make sure they are fully aware of everything the property has and does not have to offer If it lacks on something that they have to have; whether it's a yard for kids, pets, you want to make sure you get that out in the clear. There's no point in showing the home if it lacks something that they have to have.

Just these small steps on how to screen a potential tenant can help you filter out tenants and save your time for serious inquiries.