Landlording & Rental Properties

6 Signs an Applicant Will Make an Awesome Tenant for Your Rental

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Investing Basics, Flipping Houses, Business Management, Personal Development, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Real Estate News & Commentary
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Cheerful couple receiving keys to their new home

Tenants are the lifeblood of any landlord. Not just any tenant will do, however. Finding awesome tenants that will pay, stay, and maintain our rental properties is a must.

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Tenants come in all shapes and sizes, but there are indicators that will distinguish between the awesome tenants, and well… everyone else. Here are six indicators of an awesome tenant.

Signs a Rental Applicant Will Make an Awesome Tenant

1. They Have A Good Reason For Moving

Everyone moves at some point. The question to ask is, “Why?”

When looking for awesome tenants, landlords should check out why their prospective tenant is moving. Is it a “good” reason, such as starting a new job? Or it it perhaps something a bit more nebulous? Remember that we are looking for stability, and a “good” reason for moving points in that direction.

landlord, lease, rental, tenant screening

2. They Do Not Move Too Much

Again, stability is a key indicator of an awesome tenant. Tenant turnover is a cash flow killer. Turnover costs us landlords money to prepare a unit for re-rental.

Closely examine a potential tenant’s rental history. Do they consistently move year after year? If they do, they are likely going to do the same to you.

Related: Tenant Screening: 6 Reports and Services Available to Landlords (Plus, 3 Mistakes to Avoid!)

3. They Have Good References

References speak volumes. If a previous landlord has only good things to say, then you may well be on your way to having an awesome tenant. A good reference often means they paid their rent on time and did not destroy the landlord’s property.

However, be sure to dig a little deeper than just their current landlord. You never know if a current landlord is just trying to rid themselves of a problem. Try to get references from at least the last two or three landlords.

4. They Are Attentive and Fill Out the Application Properly

Attention to detail is an awesome quality to look for. This quality will help demonstrate that your potential tenant has their life together and will be able to handle the responsibilities of being your tenant.

You want to avoid those who are not paying attention when you go over the details or cannot seem to fill out your application correctly. There is chaos in their lives, and you do not need that moving into your property.


5. They Act Professional and Courteous

The landlord/tenant relationship is a professional one, and the two parties wanting to enter into that relationship should act accordingly. This means showing up on time or at least calling to tell you that they will be late. It means being neat and clean. It means talking with you in a civilized manner. It means listening politely as you explain properties, policies, and procedures.

Never let a potential tenant be rude or disrespectful. Instead, end the relationship before it even starts. It is better to tear up the lease at the signing table than to let a rude and disrespectful tenant move into your business and life.

6. They Ask the Right Questions

Every potential tenant will have questions. “What utilities are included with the rent?” or, “How are maintenance requests handled?” are perfectly legitimate questions to ask. These types of questions demonstrate competence—and competence goes a long way toward being an awesome tenant.

What you need to watch out for are questions such as, "What are your late fees?" or, "Can the security deposit be used for the last month's rent?" These folks are already trying to figure out how not to pay you. Avoid them.

The Bottom Line

Finding awesome tenants has to be at the forefront of any landlord’s business plan. Awesome tenants simply make our lives as landlords so much easier. Finding them is not overly difficult, but it does take a bit of knowledge and experience on what to look for.

Using the above indicators of an awesome tenant is a good place to start.

What do you look for in an awesome tenant?

Please share in a comment below.

Kevin Perk is co-founder of Kevron Properties, LLC with his wife Terron and has been involved in real estate investing for 10 years. Kevin invests in ...
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    Eric Carr Real Estate Broker from Los Angeles, CA
    Replied over 1 year ago
    About #5, how does one tear up the lease at the signing table because of rudeness not trigger FHA issues? Maybe you mean that it's better to quietly end things before going down that route with a tenant, don't let desperation pressure you into accepting a jerk. Was just curious which, or how to tear up a lease at the table!
    Jennifer Hernandez
    Replied over 1 year ago
    I always cross reference the previous addresses listed on the application with the credit report. I also look to see if their drivers license match with any of those addresses as well. If the information does not line up, I call those applicants "hoppers". Those are red flags to me. I'll ask questions to see if there are reasonable reasons, military, college, job relocations, but usually if the information is not disclosed I see it as they are trying to hide something and the trust in the applicant is not reliable and have the potential to skip out on the lease.
    Walter Parks
    Replied over 1 year ago
    I like the feed back answers your all gave. And also the tips and cross check addresses thanks
    Dianne Rothenbuehler from Tampa, FL
    Replied about 1 year ago
    I like that too. Never would have dawned on me