Screening / Pre-Qualification Questions

5 Replies

Just wanted to get some feedback on some questions regarding screening.  I appreciate any thoughts you may have. 

When a prospective new tenant calls about a property I'm assuming you do a screening interview over the phone.  If the interview goes well do you send a pre-qualification form that has to be filled out before showing a unit after the phone screen?

Do you send the minimum criteria required to rent from you along with the pre-qualification form or do you wait to give that to the prospect at an open house once they fill out an application?

What do you use as a gross monthly income requirement 3x or 4x the rental amount?  Do you allow married couples combined income for this criteria?

What do you use as a minimum credit score that's required to rent from you?

@Troy D.

I can tell you what we did when it came to screening and interviews with our rental and see if that's a good template to follow.

We placed an advertisement on Craigslist and Facebook with pics and info on the property. We also stated the requirements {No Criminal or Eviction background, make 2-3x the rent PER person, verifiable job number, minimum of 525 credit score (our area did not harbor people with the optimum credit score), and extra $25-$50 monthly payment for smokers and pet owners (per pet) its waived if pet is a verifiable service animal}.

When people call, we repeat info on the property and the requirements list. Apparently people don't read too often nowadays and you need to repeat things to them over and over. We don't ask them any pre-qualification over the phone, we wait for the showing to do that. If they agree, we set a showing. We try to group the showings on the same day and as close in time as possible; an hour apart preferably. If the person decides to go with through the rental then they fill out the rental application and give us a non-refundable fee of $40 for background check.

We used Mysmartmove.com by Transunion. They give you Eviction, Criminal, Credit and if their pay is X amount higher than your rent fee.

If they don't meet our standards, we make a print out of their report (Just in case they want to contest our decision) then text them that they were declined.

For married couples, each one must make at least 2x the rent because people break up and move out all the time, you need to make sure your rent can still be paid by the person left behind.

  

Originally posted by @Brian Adzadi :

@Troy D.

When people call, we repeat info on the property and the requirements list. Apparently people don't read too often nowadays and you need to repeat things to them over and over. We don't ask them any pre-qualification over the phone, we wait for the showing to do that. If they agree, we set a showing. We try to group the showings on the same day and as close in time as possible; an hour apart preferably. If the person decides to go with through the rental then they fill out the rental application and give us a non-refundable fee of $40 for background check.

We used Mysmartmove.com by Transunion. They give you Eviction, Criminal, Credit and if their pay is X amount higher than your rent fee.

If they don't meet our standards, we make a print out of their report (Just in case they want to contest our decision) then text them that they were declined.

For married couples, each one must make at least 2x the rent because people break up and move out all the time, you need to make sure your rent can still be paid by the person left behind.

  

Thanks Brian that was really helpful.   Just a few follow-up questions 


Do you accept personal checks for the rental application fee?  Do you ever ask for a deposit to hold?  if so why or why not?  I've seen that people use it and others don't.  

I use my Mysmartmove.com for tenet screening. Application costs prospective tenet $40 and takes just a couple minutes. They are a part of TransUnion, one of the larger credit score companies, so you get background, credit, and criminal check and they make recommendations. It’s easier for me to “blame” them for denying a potential renter

Originally posted by @Bradford Clark :

I use my Mysmartmove.com for tenet screening. Application costs prospective tenet $40 and takes just a couple minutes. They are a part of TransUnion, one of the larger credit score companies, so you get background, credit, and criminal check and they make recommendations. It’s easier for me to “blame” them for denying a potential renter

I've heard conflicting thoughts on mysmartmove.  The biggest problem is you can only run information on what they put into the application and so they can skip or only fill out minimal information thereby you don't get a full background on them

I pre screen on the phone in regards to informing them that there is a minimum credit score requirement (650) income requirements, employment (pension for retirees) etc. and send them a application form to fill out. Once they decide they are interested they provide us with the application form and fee (cash). improperly filled in forms are rejected and we move on to the next applicant. Following receiving the application we set up a personal interview. The interview will usually take about an hour. This is a opportunity for us and them to decide if it is a good fit. We cover all the lease rules to insure they still wish to rent and explain our policies regarding rent payments (no late payment tolerated) etc. Following our screening, credit, employment, income, previous and present landlord, drive by present residence etc. we inform them as to whether they are accepted or not.

We have a criteria for the ideal tenant and eliminate many following the personal interview without having to do the in-depth screening. 

We generally are taking applications 1-2 months ahead of the vacancy and at lease signing we collect first and last in cash/certified check or money order. We require cash in hand before keys are turned over.

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