Knowing how many people will be living in the property lets you determine how much more wear-and-tear the property will experience. You may want to adjust the rent or security deposit, or restrict the number of people who can live in the house. Also find out if they have any pets that will be living in the property with them. If you have a “no pet” policy, then you can end the process right there so you don’t have to waste anymore of your or the tenant’s time.
One trick here is to ask these questions over the phone, write down the answers, and then compare them to what the tenant puts down on the rental application. Discrepancies are often revealed this way and will help you decide whether they are suitable for your property.
Tenants will sometimes ask you to be more lenient on them due to special circumstances. This is not a good idea and can lead to problems later if you rent to them. Keep to your process with every applicant. You need to obtain a rental application, credit check, criminal background check, and references from each and every prospective tenant. Follow your process. Do not make a decision during the interview or meeting. Do not make any exceptions.
This screening process, if followed the same way with each and every prospective renter, will help you prequalify tenants so you can start to show your property to people who you believe are the best candidates.
Now that you are ready to show the property, you will meet the tenants face to face. Make sure you notice things about the tenant as you show the property to them. For instance, how is the tenant dressed? Although you can’t judge a book by its cover, in many instances an unkempt person may live in an unkempt home. Same thing would apply with their car. Does the tenant have manners, is respectful, do they wipe their shoes or take them off, or ask if you wish them to remove their shoes, when stepping into the house? Did they put out their cigarette before entering the property?
Are they pointing out legitimate concerns or asking legitimate questions, or are they just trying to find things that they can try to use to negotiate down the rent price? And if they show an interest in the property, did they bring a deposit and are quite willing to fill out an application? Be aware of what the tenant says and how they act as you take them through the property.
If the tenant is willing to rent the property and you are willing to consider them, then get them to fill out the application. Let them know that their application will be considered along with all the others and that you will notify the applicant once a decision is made. Be sure to inform them that the application needs to be returned as soon as possible to avoid the risk of losing the rental to another prospect. When you receive it, review and verify everything thoroughly and look for any inconsistencies that may be present.
The tenant that you approve, although you are still screening them, will be the one that satisfies all your conditions and has passed all the checks. Call the other applicants to gently decline them and then call your choice and congratulate them. You should also let them know if you made any special concessions just for them, such as overlooking minor credit infractions, etc.
Set up a mutually agreeable time and place to sign the lease. Instruct the tenant to bring the required amounts of monies, identification if you don’t already have it, and how you prefer to be paid, either by check, money order, or cash. If by check, be sure to tell your new tenant that the keys and property possession will be given after checks have cleared.
Carefully go through the lease with them and make sure that all of the rules and clauses are completely understood. Read the entire lease with the tenants at the lease signing. Answer all their questions and concerns and ask any questions you have as well. If there seems to be a conflict or a problem, you both can walk away from the deal and you can contact the next best candidate to offer the rental to. But if everything is going good, you and the tenant sign the contract and get the deal done.