DIY LANDLORD: How to find great tenants?

Real Estate Agent with Kumba Realty & Property Management SL3056932

As an experienced property manager, I can share with you that one of the most important things when renting out your property is finding a qualified tenant. We have all heard those stories about tenants moving out unexpectedly or even worse tenants who do not move out when they are supposed to & stop paying rent. Those stories are true!

The key to a happy landlord/tenant relationship is "qualified tenants". If you are a landlord who has decided to manage your own property I strongly suggest researching your potential tenant & asking lots of questions during the intial phone call. This will save you time & extra trips to the rental property. Here are some questions to get you started.                                                                                 

  • What is your move in date? Decide how long you will hold a house for your tenant to move in. I usually want a tenant to take possession about 2 weeks from when they apply, but definitely no more than 30 days. If your property is ready in November & your prospect cannot move in until January, then you likely need to move on.
  • Do you have any pets? If the property is a condo don't forget to check with the condo association to see if they have any special breed or weight restrictions.
  • What is your VERIFIABLE income? I typically want my tenants income to equal about 3x the rent. This way I know that they can afford to pay rent.
  • Do you have any EVICTIONS or do you owe money to other landlords? This is a huge risk. You do not want to have to go through evicting a tenant. It is time consuming & costly in terms of court costs, attorney's fees & having to clean up the mess in your property that is often left behind.

Screen, Screen, SCREEN

You will need a screening company to do your background check. Typically your prospective tenant will pay for this but do not skip this step even if you pay for it yourself. It is the best $50 you will ever spend. What you are looking for is any criminal activity, credit score,  collections, late pays or money owed.

If you are in a State such as Florida, where you can find out almost anything you want to know online  then go this extra step. Often times if an eviction has just been filed, your screening company may not have picked it up yet. You can go to your county clerk website, enter your prospect's name & see any court actions that they have been involved in.

Rental History

Call the previous landlord & ask them about the potential tenant's rental history. Did they pay rent on time? How did they maintain the property? Were there any complaints from neighbors or HOA violations? Did they get their security deposit back?

There is much more to property management than you might think. Some times you get lucky & end up with an awesome tenant who pays rent on time & takes care of your property and sometimes, you don't. I often get calls from DIY landlords who got in over their heads &  need assistance removing a non paying tenant and  I am happy to help.



Comments (12)

Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty

There is nothing wrong with screening potential tenants as thoroughly as you want. It's the landlord's property and they should do everything they can to protect their asset. 

Nov 20, 2015 02:06 AM
Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

Very good information for property landlords.  You can't let just anyone rent your property or there will be problems down the road.

Nov 20, 2015 02:22 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Maria, GREAT property managers are hard to find, and when you do, hold on tight!   You have lots of valuable information here for landlords and one who want to become one.  Welcome to ActiveRain!

Nov 20, 2015 04:26 AM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Welcome to active rain. I love the psot.

Nov 20, 2015 10:02 PM
Jack Gerbehy
Egg Harbor Township, NJ

Dont forget to Help out the next landlord..... Make sure to report the problem tenats so the next person is aware 


and Welcome , Great Post 

Nov 21, 2015 07:08 PM
Christine Gerbehy
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox and Roach Northfield - Egg Harbor Township, NJ
Making waves, one home at a time...

Maria Miller omg, the screening...  We use NTN.  Background, criminal, credit AND landlord tenant.  I allowed another agent to use their check instead of mine.  They had 700 scores, income...  BUT, we find out after evicting them that police were there often, domestic disputes, and WORSE, when they moved out, they left papers behind that the LAST place they were in, they were EVICTED.  That would have never gotten past me if they hadbeen run through NTN...  Welcome aboard!

Nov 22, 2015 01:03 AM
Gary Coles (International Referrals)
Venture Realty International - Las Vegas, NV
Latin America Real Estate

Good evening Maria Miller . Congratulations on your first post here in the Rain.  It really is important to select good tenants.

Nov 22, 2015 09:33 AM
Rose Mary Justice
Synergy Realty Pros - Dandridge, TN
Synergy Realty Pros

It is important to find out as much as you can.  No one likes an unhealthy relationship. Welcome to the rain.

Nov 22, 2015 09:59 AM
Melissa Jackson
Century 21 Alliance Properties - Azle, TX
Helping You Make The Right Move

Great post and welcome to Active Rain. I have worked with leases. Our office also offers property management.  You made some good points! 

Nov 22, 2015 02:17 PM
Captain Wayne - Rowlett Real Estate School
Rowlett Real Estate School - Panama City, FL
Rowlett Real Estate School / Owner and Instructor

Welcome to ActiveRain,  it's great to have you aboard.  I look forward to reading more of your posts.

Nov 25, 2015 07:13 AM
Michele Connors
The Overton Group, LLC Pitt & Carteret County - Greenville, NC
Your Eastern North Carolina Realtor

Welcome ! Be sure to click and follow some members and join a few groups ... this will get you well on your way to interacting and becoming a close member of this platform ... we look forward to seeing more posts from you as well ! ! 

Dec 21, 2015 01:54 AM
Kathryn J.
Rentec Direct - Grants Pass, OR
Rentec Direct

Welcome to ActiveRain.  I like seeing a new property manager/management company sharing some fresh new info! Cheers~

Feb 11, 2016 05:18 AM