Investing in real estate can be a great way to make an additional income, while at the same time building wealth. Or, if you happen to choose the wrong tenants, it can become a terrible and expensive headache.
Unlike many other businesses, once you have a rental property that you have purchased and have available, you don’t want to serve all “customers” who walk through the door. In other words, accepting the very first applicant who looks at the property for rent can oftentimes be a huge mistake.
Having a screening process in place can often help you to eliminate those who may not be the right fit and narrow down your search to the best candidate. This process should ideally include having a written application for all potential renters that includes information such as:
- Credit History – Obtaining a copy of the individual’s credit report is essential, as this will show you whether or not the individual has a history of paying their bills on time. It will also indicate if they have had a bankruptcy.
- Employment History and Income – This is also important because you will want to ensure that the individual not only is employed, but that their income is stable, and that they will have enough to cover the amount of rent that you’re charging (as well as other bills that they may have).
- Prior Evictions – Prior evictions will also be a key piece of information. If there are several (or even one), this could be a red flag.
You should also ask for at least two or three good references – and then follow up by contacting these individuals.
While you certainly want to start generating income as soon as possible on your property, it can be well worth it to wait for the right tenant who will treat your property with respect and pay the rent each month – on time.
If you truly want to make the most of your time and your investment returns, you may consider having a property manager do all the work of finding and screening tenants, collecting the rent, and attending to the property maintenance needs. For more information about the benefits of partnering with a property management company, Contact Us.