#AskBP 011: How Do I Screen Tenants in Low-End Rentals?

by | BiggerPockets.com

In this episode of the #AskBP Podcast, learn how screening tenants can change slightly depending on the kind of property you are screening for. You’ll learn the screening processes Brandon is willing to compromise on, and the few that he absolutely won’t! If you rent to tenants in the “sub-$800 per month” rental market, this is a can’t-miss episode!

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About Author

Brandon Turner

Brandon Turner is an active real estate investor, entrepreneur, writer, and co-host of the BiggerPockets Podcast. He began buying rental properties and flipping houses at age 21, discovering he didn’t need to work 40 years at a corporate job to have “the good life.” Today, with nearly 100 rental units and dozens of rehabs under his belt, he continues to invest in real estate while also showing others the power, and impact, of financial freedom. His writings have been featured on Forbes.com, Entrepreneur.com, FoxNews.com, Money Magazine, and numerous other publications across the web and in print media. He is the author of The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down, The Book on Rental Property Investing, and co-author of The Book on Managing Rental Properties, which he wrote alongside his wife, Heather, and How to Invest in Real Estate, which he wrote alongside Joshua Dorkin. A life-long adventurer, Brandon (along with Heather and daughter Rosie) splits his time between his home in Washington State and various destinations around the globe.


  1. Curt Smith

    Thanks Brandon for getting straight to content!

    You mentioned you don’t lower your standards…. but how do you actually do screening?. I use MrLandlord.com. or ctcredit.net Both are a pain to setup because you get the REAL credit report, eviction search, bad check check and very importantly from ctcredit.new the list of past addresses. Which must match up to the past rentals they put on your application. My one and only eviction, the renter skipped their past rental address on my application. I don’t miss checking that anymore.

    I look for charge offs which you can only see if you get a real credit report. Both renter check services gives you a matrix of pays on time and 30-60-90 late paying for each line of credit. Very telling of how they will pay you.

    Other sorting techniques:

    – Folks who can;t manage to pay or pay on time are also poor at managing their lives. I set odd showing times. 2:45 Sat. Only be there 1/2 hour. Folks who can’;t prioritize getting into my nice place and get there on time,,, well I’m very glad they self selected out of the running.

    – I walk out to their car with them, the inside must be neat. I like older cars but must be neat. New and expensive cars are red flags. Folks want to keep their cable, cars and cell phones more than your rental. 2007-8 proved Wall Street wrong, the mortgage was first to be dropped and cell phone bills the last. Which is why I look for cell phone bill charge offs in the credit report.

    I’ve learned the hard way that an empty rental is one that is not going to need eviction. I’ll wait for a good renter. But I’ve moved to rent to own and seller financing as further differentiators of who is attracted to my product. Rent to own is a big step up, seller financing just makes it possible for good people with problems in their credit report to become owners…

    Add something to your rental that will allow you to attract and keep the best renters. Nicer paint color. Dove grey is same price as white… How to cheaply make a low end rental more attractive would be a good blog topic.

  2. Wilson Churchill

    I like to use Section 8. They are screened by the Housing Commission. Evictions don’t matter to me, when the rent is paid by the state. If I get the chance, I will take a look at their current residence to make sure they are clean, however. I generally disallow pets for obvious reasons.

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