How do you do a credit check on a potential tenant you are trying to screen? Where do you go? And can you do it for cheap or free?
Call an apartment association magazine in your area and ask for a referral, or ask for a magazine, or maybe there is one online. They always have ads for agencies that check credit.
We (my wife and I) own several fairly large apartment buildings and never did a credit check. We only ask for the first 1 or 2 pages of their past three months of bank statements and we ask to see copies of their checks or some type of verifiable transaction where they paid their rent on-time for the past 3 months.
Renters can some big liars and they know how to produce fake copies of receipts and say they either lived with someone else, or they paid their rent with cash. In that instance, we don't rent to them because they are probably lying and we don't want tenants who lived with someone else for the past 3 months.
Most of our tenants have anywhere from $15,000 to I've seen more than $100,000 in their checking accounts. Good enough for me and no credit check is necessary.
I personally love using Zillow rental manager. Basically everything through Zillow Rental Management. You can get credit report, national background check, tailor a lease application, and even collect rent through it.
It's beneficial to tenants/applicants too because they pay a 1 time fee of like $30-$40 and can apply to many properties as opposed to ~$30-$50 per application.
I just did my first one and used Transunion Smart Move - the applicant pays the fee and you can approve or deny the applicant directly through the portal. It was really easy.