Tenant Review

5 Replies

Hello! My husband and I have a duplex that we rent out. We are currently renting 1/2 of it and re-doing the other half. We lived in the other half until recently and now have another place to live so are re-doing it to make it nicer and more marketable for the next tenant. Last time when we found tenants, we hired a company to find the tenants for us. They received applications, showed the place, and created the lease. We had to pay them about one month's rent for this service. It worked out really well at the time, but we are thinking now we should just do it ourselves. Does anyone have a check list of things that we need to do in order to find a tenant? Here are some items I'm aware of, but need to know more about each one and am probably missing some steps.

-Advertise property for rent (local FB page for our community, local list serv, Craigslist?)

-Schedule times with people to see place? Make private appointments or have open house?

-Credit check? No idea how to do this, but assume there are some resources out there?

-Draft a lease. We already have one for the other side, so would just plan on updating that one.

Appreciate any help people can provide! :)

If you are local to the duplex I would just do everything yourself. 

Create an advertisement on Postlets.com - This will syndicate the posting to Zillow, Hotpads, and several other websites for free. You can also copy the code they give you once you create the listing and use it to post a nice flyer on Craigslist. Also, go to the local Home Depot or Lowe's and buy a $15 For Rent sign with your phone number (or preferably a free Google Voice number) and put that in the yard.

Make sure you have plenty of nice, well lit photos of the unit.

Some people do private appointments while others prefer open houses. The open house can make it feel like a competition or that there is a lot of demand for the unit if many people show up. It is also easier than having to meet people at many different times.

Credit/Background check - https://biggerpockets.mysmartmove.com/   Create your property and application through the above website and you can email the application to tenants and have it charge them the fee.

Yeah, try it yourself and save some money.

Check out Postlets.com. You make your ad and it sends it out to several sites, including Craigslist if you want. This way you do the ad once and you're done. 

Take GOOD pictures!

I personally do open-house style showings because I don't have time to drive there whenever someone wants to see. Oh, and when I did show at individual times, they had to confirm they were still coming at least 2 hrs before or I would not even go. I made this very clear because my time has been wasted before on no-shows.

I have the luck of having my maintenance guy live right next door to one of my duplexes and he is happy to show that place whenever. So that one is much easier to show on a whim. As you network and have your team, you might also be able to have a similar set up to more easily show your properties.

I keep applications in every vacant unit ready to give out. It has a bunch of questions on it--three pages worth--and the first page is instructions on what they must include with the application when they turn it in. (proof of income, copy of license/ID, copy of SS card). 

Oh and also, the final page of the app is a Release of Information Form that they must sign. Sometimes places require this to give any background info on them (such as big apt complexes).

I'm happy to share my application and form with you if you'd like.

Look for the BP ultimate tenant screening document. 

If it worked well last time hiring someone to do it, why not use the same company again?  

If the unit sits vacant for an extra month because of your inexperience in this area or worse you don't evaluate the correctly and it turns into a nightmare tenant situation, doesn't that justify the cost of having someone do it for you?

Thanks, all, for the help! I've been to the sites you've linked to and they seem to be very helpful. Nicole, I would love it if you could send me an example application that you've created. Can that be done through the site or do you need my email? Thanks!!

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