Leasing in California: How to Screen Your Potential Tenants in 3 Easy Steps

Couple have found a new homeAny landlord knows just how intimidating and costly vacancies can be. While the rental market is flourishing due to the fact that many Americans still lack the means or the motivation required to buy a place of their own, leasingan apartment or a house can be quite a challenge, especially when you don’t have a proper tenant screening strategy set in place.

Tenant Screening: Why Bother?

We get it: you’re desperately looking for someone who could pay you rent and help you make ends meet. But in these difficult economic times, you can never be too careful when it comes to letting a complete stranger inside your house. Want to profit from every single opportunity that may arise without taking any chances? Here are a few guidelines that may simplify the vetting process and allow you to attain peace of mind, knowing that your house for rent in California will be in good hands.

  1. Make a Card of Basic Questions. In most cases, you’ll conduct a first interview via phone or email. Either way, choose to prepare an on-point set of basic questions allowing you to become more familiar with your potential tenants and their goals and interests. Questions related to credit, reasons for moving, number of family members and pets, occupancy date and previous landlord references are always a good idea, simply because they provide the most valuable details that could interest you as a landlord.
  2. Meet Potential Tenants in Person. Once you complete the first step you can go ahead and schedule your first meeting in person with your potential tenants. Feel free to judge the people who are eager to rent your place based on the selection criteria that matters to you the most. Most landlords think that the tenant’s car, appearance, attitude and manners are solid indicators that provide more insight than the most detailed rental applications. For instance, a well-groomed man with a nice, clean car is more likely to make sure that your property stays shiny like a new penny.  Moreover, individuals who have the tendency to criticize your place for no apparent reason could try to lower your asking price in a shady manner and are not exactly ideal candidates on a landlord’s list.
  3. Let Them Fill the Rental Application. Encourage your potential tenants to fill out the rental application and return it as soon as possible. Stimulate them to read it once in your presence; this way, you would be able to clarity potential doubts and stay on the same page with the families interested in your Californian home. Once you receive the rental application, scan it for red flags and inconsistencies. If and when you are 100% satisfied with someone, all you need to do is to give the green light to the approval process.

After completing all these steps, set up the date for the lease signing, state your preferred payment method and instruct your applicants to carry with them a form of identification and the agreed amount of money. All in all, tenant screening is based on a winning combination of great instincts, an insight into the Californian real estate market, attention to detail and excellent people skills. You just can’t go wrong with this type of combo.

Aug 2014