Having their rental property stand vacant is a landlord’s worst nightmare. It represents expenses without income to offset them, a potential risk for criminal damage, and uncertainty. Their desire to fill that vacancy often leads rental property owners to make poor tenant choices, primarily because they did not do the necessary screening and vetting.
The long-term ramifications of a hasty decision can be manifold, including unpaid rent, sitting tenants who refuse to leave, property damage, and lengthy, expensive legal processes. As the saying goes, you can repent at leisure after you act in haste. Avoid having this become your lot as a landlord by streamlining and easing the process of going through rental applications and performing the necessary screening tasks before selecting a tenant. Here are some ideas to help you accomplish this:
Get professional help
When looking for a property management company in Nashville, many landlords prefer to work with local companies like Evernest, Browning-Gordon Property Management, and Aria Properties. Evernest has a stellar reputation for its agents’ hard work and dedication toward their clients. These professionals tirelessly market the properties in their remit, screen and vet prospective tenants, manage all the legalities, and ensure that landlords do not need to worry about their rental properties. In addition to its Nashville offices, Evernest also has branches in Chattanooga, Memphis, and Murfreesboro. As a landlord, your alternative is to work with America’s larger residential property management companies, such as Colliers International and BH Management Services.
When you work with a property management company, it has the processes to source tenants, review their applications, and do background checks to determine their suitability. Agents then report back to you about the outcomes. Landlords that work with property managers experience fewer vacancies than those that do not. Even when they have a vacancy, it is filled quicker by letting the professionals take care of it.
Create a checklist
Reviewing applications can be overwhelming if you are determined to go it alone. However, you can use this process to weed out unsuitable candidates. Start by making your Nashville rental ad as detailed as possible, stipulating your requirements, such as no smoking or pets, and your intention to run a credit check.
Draw up an application form for prospective tenants to complete. Source as much information as you can from this process. For example, if you have decided that you do not want tenants with pets, ask whether applicants have any. Ask them to consent to a credit check.
Create a checklist of what requirements you expect applicants to meet, including the ideas listed before. When sifting through applications, set aside those where it is apparent that the prospective tenant does not meet your requirements. For example, they might refuse permission for you to run a credit check.
Set aside time
Having drawn up a shortlist of prospective tenants for your Nashville rental, you need to start verifying the information they provided you. The application form should ask for the contact details of their employer, previous landlords, and other references. Contacting these people is essential but time-consuming. Set aside time from your day to make calls or send emails for screening purposes and contact credit agencies to access reports.
These phone calls and emails are essential for making a sound tenant choice. However, many landlords skip this step because they are too busy or have run out of time and need to find a renter fast.
Prepare a list of questions
The information derived during the vetting process guides a landlord in whittling their list of prospective Nashville tenants down to a maximum of two or three. The final step in choosing the best possible fit is meeting them in person. However, before you get to this stage, think about what you want to find out from the candidates during this meeting.
Have a list of questions for when you show them the rental home. The questions should be wide-ranging, helping you get a feel for what kind of people these prospective tenants are and whether they are the type of folks with whom you will have a good relationship. Avoid making your questions too personal, which could make your applicants feel uncomfortable.
Set up meetings
Create appointments to show the property to prospective tenants. While you have a list of questions, as mentioned before, do not go into this meeting with that list in hand, making it feel too formal. Ask your questions casually while walking through the home.
These meetings let you gain an overall idea of what kind of people you are dealing with. It is time to put a face to a name and observe specific behaviors. For example, someone who arrives late for the appointment without a reason or apology should raise red flags as they might treat everything in life with that attitude, including rental payments.