Credit Checks

4 Replies

I'm a brand new investor in Alabama. I have purchased 2 homes to rent out and almost all the work on these houses are complete. My question is what company is a good one to run the credit/criminal check with?  I just want to start out stromg with good tenants.

Thanks in advance 

Jennifer

Hi Jennifer. You are being very smart by getting a credit report and criminal check. There is no substitute for knowing the credit worthiness of a tenant. I have always used mrlandlord dot com.  However, there are many. 

Here's a tip. I put my qualifications for renting at the end of my application. 620 minimum credit score, no prior evictions or bankruptcies, gross income verifiable at a minimum of 3.5 times monthly rent.  It will keep you from getting most applicants who do not qualify.

Hi Jennifer - I agree with Dave, you should have some form of Tenant Selection Criteria that clearly outlines how you make your decision (e.g. minimum credit score, income requirements, number of allowable pets and type of pets, etc).  Ours is not on the application, but is a separate document. 

In the beginning we used NTN - National Tenant Network - to run the credit and background check (cost was around $25 or so, but we passed the fees on to the tenants).  We now outsource to leasing agents/realtors since we both have full-time jobs.  They run the checks for us and I make sure they have a copy of our selection criteria.

Good luck!

Andy

Andy Webb, Real Estate Agent in Texas (#692589)
214-263-0021

Thank you both for your answers. I am really nervous about all of it after reading so many horror stories.  At the same time,  I am excited to get it started, just want to make sure I do it in the smartest way possible. 

@Jennifer Wiggins I read through a number of forum posts on this subject a couple weeks ago before renting a SFH that I am managing for another investor. Many people on BP suggested MySmartMove.com and I tried them out. It was very easy to set up and I had the tenant pay their own screening fee through the website (which also helps weed people out who aren't very serious). Other's mentioned Experian.com, but I had trouble registering on that site for some reason. 

I also have potential renters fill out an online rental application prior to viewing the property that asks standard questions about income, employment, evictions, etc. I just make google form and email them the link after they inquire about my craigslist ad. Again, this is a barrier for some people the moment they have to disclose their income and how long they've been at their current job. For this particular property, I had it listed for 1.5 weeks and had about 7 inquires and 2 people filled out the google docs application and 1 person followed through with the background check...and that was all I needed! I qualified a great tenant and signed a year lease.

Good luck! I'm sure it will work out great.

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