5 TIPS FOR SCREENING RENTAL APPLICANTS
1) Do not simply give away applications to rental prospects who are not serious to take home and most-likely never return. Instead, charge $49 for each application given out. And let them know “processing” the app is Free. They can go ahead and fill it out now or later. Most fill it out right then. A Property Manager friend of mine started this several years ago. It is amazing how well it works and I have had many who “bought” an application and never returned it. Like getting paid to show the place.
2) Don’t become fixated on one qualification, like getting a certain credit score–look at the whole picture. Real references from real past Property Managers/ Landlords trump credit scores every time.
3) Someone who is a PAIN at the showing is probably going to be 10X worse if you actually rent to them…have written criteria to deal with people who are uncooperative, or can’t seem to follow basic instructions.
4) Take charge in the conversation from the start. You ask the questions, and get the answers you want/need to decide. I use the “interview approach” to keep myself from getting tangled up in “stories.” If someone has to “tell me their story”, 9 times out of 10 that means we’ve got a situation that isn’t going to work out. I used to listen politely and these folks would drone on (for 10 minutes!) about their woes.
5) I do a different approach than most Property Managers. We NEVER answer the phone. All go to answering machine with info on the house, our website, and how to apply. The call before the application is pointless to us. I want them to drive by and complete an application before I spend even one minute on them.