The rental property market is full of horror stories. You’ve probably heard tales about tenants not paying rent on time, damaging appliances or causing headaches for the neighbors with wild late-night parties. It’s enough to scare off even the hardiest of investors. But find the right tenant and you won’t have to deal with nearly as many problems.

Follow these tips to help ensure you select a quality tenant that will be the perfect fit for your property.

Cast a wide net

Quality advertising will help attract quality tenants. Write an enticing ad that describes all the best features of your property: its locations, appliances, renovations and anything else that might appeal to renters. Include photos of your property as well. You can even go the extra mile by creating a website for your property using free and easy-to-use online programs like WordPress. Be sure to include a link within any ads you’re running.

All this work sends the message to tenants that you’re an active, attentive landlord. But if you place a poorly written classified ad with few details, that tells renters you’re lazy and won’t keep on top of things. Also, the more exposure your property gets the more potential tenants you’ll have to choose from. That means you won’t have to go with someone you’re not sure about just to pay the bills.

Screen potential tenants well

After attracting interested tenants, it’s time to start whittling down the pile. You can never be too thorough during the screening process. Make sure you get at least three references from each each tenant from past landlords.

Ask a lot of questions when speaking to the references, but not just the usual stuff about whether or not their tenant paid the rent on time. Did they receive any complaints from neighbours about them? Would they rent to them again? Also, ask about the relationship they have with the tenant. If they were a friend or family member, you’ll have to take that into consideration.

What kind of tenant you want to rent to will also determine many of your questions for the references. Will smoking be a problem? Are you looking for a short-term or long-term renter? What about pets?

Focus on the interview

This will often be the decision-making step when selecting a tenant. Much like a job interview, having a face-to-face discussion with the potential renter is vital to determining if they he or she will be a good fit for your property. Make sure you meet with everyone who will be staying at the property – that includes pets.

Consider these points when asking questions:

  • Ask basic questions about their rental applications. This will help you spot any holes or inconsistencies in the information they provided and may help you evaluate their character.
  • Go over all the rules of your property with the tenant and gauge their reaction. If they seem hesitant to agree to any of your rules or otherwise react negatively, that could be a big red flag.
  • Observe their appearance and behavior. Are they dressed for an interview? Did they show up on time? If they don’t show you respect, they may not respect your property either.

Looking for more details on getting tenants? Get a copy of Every Landlord’s Guide to Finding Great Tenants by Janet Portman Attorney where you can find the answers that you need to find the best tenants possible!

Choosing the Right Tenants
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Jennifer D'Angelo

Jennifer D'Angelo contributes writing to Right Residential, a company that renovates foreclosed houses in the Chicago suburbs. They have homes in many many towns. When she's looking for great properties, she likes looking for great deals on antiques for her own home.

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