5 Easy Rules---How to Choose good Tenants

Real Estate Agent with Balboa Real Estate San Diego, CA

5 Rules ---How to Choose Good Tenants


When my investors ask me to manage a property they just bought, they know I have a track record of finding good tenants. Easy,huh? Run an ad on Craigslist, answer the email, show the property and get a deposit. I wish it were that simple. It's not difficult to find tenants but it does take some years of experience to separate the winners from the losers...and a loser can cost you your investment.

 Rule# 1

First impressions are lasting. If you want to make a good impression ( and  you should want to impress your future landlord), leave the "attitude" at home. Argumentative tenants do NOT hold a warm and fuzzy place in the hearts of landlords. Any type of disrespect or negative statement about the property on day 1 tells me to draw a big red line through this application.


Be on time. If the prospective tenant arrives a half hour late, that's not a good sign. Unless there is a really valid excuse, this would raise a red flag.


Trashed cars filled with junk always  make me think of the lifestyle of the person driving it. Will the rental be just as trashy? Anyone with a bit of self respect will not drive a filthy vehicle, loaded with debris and  dirty clothes.

 Rule #4

Once a tenant came to a showing and told me they could move within 24 hours--we needed a tenant asap BUT certainly anyone who could move within 24 hours was either skipping out on the rent or just escaped from the local jail. 


Big gaps in rental history-- I don't know about you but I can tell you where I've lived for the past 20 years--- if someone can't fill in the gap, they may be hiding an eviction or worse.


 Although criminal reports  are not required, you may consider one along with a credit report.

After all, by eliminating a loser, you might have just saved yourself a whole lot of aggravation....and maybe even avoided an eviction. It pays to be cautious when selecting tenants.



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Hogue and Belong Realty-Bankers Hill

San Diego, CA


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Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

All GREAT suggestions and may DIY landlords and sales agents doing leasing never learn them...I require rental prospects to REconfirm their arrival an hour before a showing time...no call, I don't show up!

May 05, 2013 07:58 PM #1
Mark Delgado
houses for rent, Solano County & Glen Cove - Benicia, CA
Benicia and Vallejo, Property Management, rental h
Yes, these are excellent points. It is unfortunate that such advice is needed but clearly DIY landlords have made all of these types of mistakes.
Jun 20, 2013 11:15 PM #2
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

Great tips ! Good tenants rarely find themselves desperately needing a rental immediately !More likely it's someone elses problem tenant !

Feb 01, 2014 10:09 PM #3
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Yes Deborah, failure to properly screen tenants can be a very expensive mistake.


Mar 16, 2016 02:11 PM #4
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Good tips Deborah,although there's room for flexibiity.

I just wrote you about my son (and possibly other crew members) needing a place when they arrive in your area to build a new power line. People like that DO need something ASAP, although they have the funds to rent a motel room while they search. And... my son could not show rental history because he owns his home here.

Jan 16, 2017 12:56 PM #5
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