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Choosing a Tenant From the Best Qualified Candidates

Updated on March 17, 2018
TashaMills13 profile image

I am a Licensed Real Estate Broker in the Tampa Bay Area of Florida specializing in investment real estate.

Picking an applicant to offer tenancy starts with asking a lot of questions. The first question is, “How has the applicant performed during each stage of the process?”

You are looking for the applicant with the most positive answers to all of your questions and that does not have one area that knocks them out completely.

The Advertising Response

Did the applicant follow any of the directions you provided for viewing the property?

A good tenant knows how to follow directions correctly.

Did the applicant physically view the property?

A good, long term tenant is in a home that they like and that fits their needs.

Was the applicant respectful with phone calls and/or text messages?

A good tenant understands boundaries and respects another person’s time. If someone is calling and texting you at 10 pm about an advertised rental, they will also call and text you at 10 pm when they are a tenant.

The Advertising Response

Did the applicant follow any of the directions you provided for viewing the property?

A good tenant knows how to follow directions correctly.

Did the applicant physically view the property?

A good, long term tenant is in a home that they like and that fits their needs.

Was the applicant respectful with phone calls and/or text messages?

A good tenant understands boundaries and respects another person’s time. If someone is calling and texting you at 10 pm about an advertised rental, they will also call and text you at 10 pm when they are a tenant.

The Application Processing

Did the applicant submit a completed application?

If an applicant is motivated about renting a property, they will make sure to submit a completed application.

Are they going to live near work, friends or family?

A good, long term tenant is more motivated to stay if they are near something important to them.

The Credit and Background

Did the credit report match the information given on the application?

A good tenant is truthful in all situations. An applicant may have negative information, but a good tenant is the one that still puts the truth on their application and provides explanations.

Have they established an overall pattern of paying their bills?

A good tenant may have had a hiccup in their life, but overall shows that they pay their bills. They do not have multiple judgements, multiple accounts in collections, multiple payments paid 30 days or later, etc. They have paid their rent and bills on time for the last 12 months or more.

Do they have a criminal background?

A good tenant may have had a hiccup when they were younger but, as they matured, they no longer have issues with drugs, driving or more serious charges. Someone who has constant issues with the law are usually not able to keep a steady job.

The Verifications

Was the applicant quick to get all additional information needed to you?

Did they provide income documentation you requested?

Did the applicant argue with you about information you requested?

Applicants who delay getting information and documentation to you are not motivated to be your tenant or may be trying to mislead you.

Was the applicant nervous about an in-home visit?

Applicants who are motivated, and have nothing to hide, will invite you into their homes.

If you performed an in-home visit:

Was the home presentable?

The applicant’s current residence does not need to look like a professional maid cleans it, but it does need to look like they care. Good tenants treat your property with respect and tell you quickly about repairs needed.

Were there any signs that contradicted with information on the application?

Additional occupants, pets, additional vehicles and home businesses are a few things to look for during a home visit.

The Ratios

Did the applicant meet both the front end and back end ratios?

A good tenant is not living way above their means.

The Other Info

Did the applicant provide information about how motivated they were?

Were they transparent in their answers to all questions?

A good tenant knows to present their entire case and not try to hide information.

Are they prepared to handle the requirements of the house they have applied for?

A good, long term tenant matches the home.

  • If it is an older or historic home, do they have experience or are they accustomed to living in new homes that do not have some of the challenges of older homes?
  • If the home is in the suburbs with a large yard, do they have experience mowing the yard and remembering to put out the garbage?
  • If the home is an attached property, do they have experience with the noise so that they do not disturb their neighbors or that they will not be upset by normal noises of attached living?

You have advertised the property, accepted applications, processed those applications and reviewed all of the information collected to choose the applicant best qualified to be your tenant. The next blog series will be going through the leasing process.

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