Hiring to find my first tenant

6 Replies

Do it yourself-study up first. You will do a better job than an agent will. Get familiar with the process and follow the steps completely. You can use Cozy or your state LL association for background checks, credit reports, and docs. including leases. All the best!

@Richard Prater This really depends on your availability. Are you available to show the apartment to a qualified perspective tenants around their schedule? This is just one thing to think about and if the answer is no you may want to find an agent who specializes in rentals to fill the unit for you. 

Originally posted by @Bjorn Ahlblad :

Do it yourself-study up first. You will do a better job than an agent will. Get familiar with the process and follow the steps completely. You can use Cozy or your state LL association for background checks, credit reports, and docs. including leases. All the best!

It is absolutely false that you would do a better job than an agent. Do you know the local/state/federal laws? Do Fair Housing rules apply to you? Do you understand how to screen applications? Can you choose the "best" applicant or do you have to take the first one? What is disparate impact? Should I allow four friends to rent my two-bedroom apartment? What about pets? How much of a security deposit should I charge? How much of a security deposit does my state allow? What if I approve their application and they fail to sign the lease? When is it acceptable to allow a co-signer? How do I handle an applicant with no credit score?

It took me one minute to type those questions and I can throw out 100 more. The vast majority of private Landlords have no clue what they're doing whereas a professional knows the law, can spot red flags, and can find you a quality renter. Screening applications is the most important aspect of being a Landlord; screw that up and everything else goes wrong.

If you don't know what you're doing, consider hiring a professional the first time or two until you are educated enough to handle it on your own. This board is chock full of examples of Landlords that did it on their own and screwed up. Don't derail your investment plan by taking on something you're not ready for.

By the way, if you feel the need to save a few dollars, many Property Managers offer a service where they will market the property, handle showings, screen applications, and get the tenant moved in then they hand it over to you for on-going management. 

 I’m going through this right now. It’s a little overwhelming because I feel like I’m doing things that I don’t know how to do and I’m not gonna learn them till I do them. First few showings did not go very well and I learned. I feel like I might’ve gotten  it rented quicker with an agent but I’m learning a lot. If I’m going to do this long-term I think the knowledge is probably more valuable than the extra rent of getting it done quicker. I will say it takes a lot of time because half the people who make appointments don’t even show up.  That hasn’t been an issue for me because I’m still rehabbing the second apartment so I’m there anyway. So if you can afford to spend the time on it I would suggest that it’s worth a knowledge you will get. 

Do it yourself unless you have fully vetted an agent and spoken with multiple landlords that have used them. Agents can and often do a very bad job due to their primary motivation to make a buck. They will not go the extra mile in screening that a landlord would do assuming the landlord knows what they are doing. If you do not know how to screen applicants then a agent likely will not do any worse. It will most time come down to luck. 

Some agents may choose a qualified applicant but I know I will choose the right qualified applicant.