Tag Archives for " tenant screening "

How do you ensure that you find the best tenants for our property?

The key to maximizing profitability and minimizing risk as a landlord has a lot to do with choosing the right tenant. That starts with the marketing of the property, and the energy that can be produced off that. There are a few tricks to creating effective advertisements to help find the best tenants for your properties. You can advertise in the newspaper, on billboards, or on the Internet; however, you may be wasting your time and money advertising to people who either aren’t interested in what you have to offer or aren’t qualified to meet your criteria.

A good ad campaign lets you target and attract the kind of tenant you’re looking for. An advertisement works best when it’s appealing. So, before you decide what information to incorporate, think about what characteristics you value in a tenant. Here are some good examples:

Finding good tenants will, more often than not, prevent you from having to deal with a myriad of problems as a landlord.

· Stable employment

· Pays rent on time

· Has never been evicted or used a landlord as a revolving line of credit

Once you’ve identified characteristics you like in good tenants, think about what factors contribute to a good rental experience for landlord and tenant. What did you as the landlord have to offer your last tenant? Was the last tenant happy and satisfied? Assessing this information will help you decide how to focus on the marketing aspect for the property.

Often you will attract high risk tenants who use landlords as a revolving line of credit when advertising your rental property, so it is imperative that you attempt to identify these tenants immediately. Here at RTS, we have a very specific checklist process for screening tenants and filtering out bad elements for your property. Sometimes we even go as far as contacting up to two previous landlords for the potential tenant in order to verify their background. This can get tricky, since some landlords will lie in order to either keep their tenant (say they’re awful when they’re not) or lie in order to get them to leave (they will say they’re great when they’re not). This is why we have such a detailed process, and it will reduce the risk of you getting a bad tenant for a good property.

It’s important to note that, if the marketing aspect of the property is done right at the beginning, usually bad tenants will filter themselves out even before the screening begins. Rest assured though, that we will do our best to get you the best tenants we can find for you to do business with.

How do You Ensure that You Find the Best Tenants?

Finding the diamond in the rough with tenant screening.

How do we ensure we are finding you the best tenants for the property?  That is a great question because bad tenants can cost you a lot of money. They can damage the property, not pay their rent, and force us to evict them. All of which cost a lot of money and lead to vacancies.

  1. Marketing. The first thing we do is market the property. By actively marketing the property, we can get a selection of applicants. This gives us the opportunity to choose the best tenants. Then  we screen all applicants.
  2. Screening. When someone is interested in renting a property, we have them fill out an application. We then screen out the ones you do not want living in your property. We have an extensive screening checklist. You can learn more about it by going to 7 Steps to Flawless Tenant Screening.
  3. Landlord verification. Although many landlords will debate the merits of landlord verifications, we believe they are an essential part of the screening process when available. Go to Problems with Landlord Verification in Screening and the Solution to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of landlord verification, but more importantly, how we mitigate the disadvantages when screening tenants.
  4. Manual checks. Because we take the screening process very seriously, we manually check all local criminal and eviction records. Why is it so important to check criminal and eviction records manually?   Another great question. You can follow the link to read more extensively on the topic. In short, we learned through experience that national background check data bases are imperfect. While they are still a useful tool, they are not sufficient to stand on their own. We also check with the local courts for any recent filings or ones missed.

Tenant screening and marketing work in combination to ensure we have a selection of good tenants to choose from for each and every property we manage, We have several videos and blog posts available on the many things we do to market properties, but a good one to start with is My home is not leasing – some tips for better lease marketing.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

 

How do you protect me from property damage?

Learn the steps we take to protect you from property damage.

We are often asked by property owners how we protect them from property damage. This is an important question because property damages can get very expensive very quickly. Costs come from repairing the damages, and from the time the property has to remain empty.

There are two things we do for all our property owners to protect them from damages.

  1. Collect a deposit. We collect a deposit from each tenant before they move in. The deposit is held to help cover the cost of any damages to the property. After screening, if we think the person is risky, we may offer them a lease with a higher deposit. We may collect a double, triple, or even quadruple deposit. In an upcoming post, I will discuss how much of a deposit we collect and why.
  2. Tenant screening. The best thing we do to protect property owners is by carefully screening every tenant. We have a screening process that we go through with every tenant application we receive, and it works. If we can provide better tenants, there is a lower risk of property damage. We foster good will with our tenants by encouraging and maintaining a positive relationship with the tenants. Staying in contact with tenants helps, and so does giving landlords regular updates. You can learn more about our screening process from our post 7 Steps to a Flawless Tenant Screening.
  3. Inspections. we also suggest regular inspections. They allow us to identify problems earlier than we would waiting until the tenant moves out. This allows us to discover problems such as water leaks before they cause significant damage. Learn more about what your options are when it comes to inspections with How many times do you inspect my property

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

 

My home is not leasing: tips for better lease marketing

Our marketing efforts are proven effective.

 

We get this a lot. Someone calls and tells us they have a property that has been sitting on the market for a year and nothing is happening. We ask, are they marketing the property? The owner responds that there is a “for rent” sign. We ask if they’ve gotten any calls on it. They tell us that they call their realtor or manager about it, but don’t get a clear response or any response at all.

If this story sounds familiar to you or it is your story, please call us.

We will bring energy to your properties and actively work to reduce vacancies.

There has to be a starting point, for us, that will be sitting down with you and discussing the rental prices to ensure they are marketing at a price that makes sense.

We spend thousands on marketing. Way more than most individual landlords can possibly spend because we can combine our efforts over all the properties we manage. We also spend our marketing dollars on the most effective marketing tactics possible.

Our first line of marketing is our website, ohiorental.info, which gets thousands of visitors every month. We also pay for syndication. This gets our property listings out to dozens of websites. We follow up with every lead on every property. Our marketing program has proven effective day in and day out. Also, we add to and improve our efforts anytime we discover a new or better option. We regularly look at our efforts to make changes as needed. We also use MLS, which is massive and Craig’s List to provide constant exposure to properties.

Our property owners get weekly activity reports. You will never go weeks or months without hearing from us. Weekly reports show things like how many page views a property listing received. They show how many inquiries the property got and how many showings were scheduled. We also provide advice on possible changes based on the information provided.

We found that roughly 30% of the time, we have a deposit on a property before the previous tenants even move out. In addition to our marketing efforts, tenant screening is an essential tool we use to reduce potential damage to properties and reduce vacancies.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

How much do you charge for evictions?

Control eviction costs by preventing them

This is not a bad question to ask, and we get it a lot. Landlords are worried about evictions because they are so costly.

We offer our property owners an all-in-one fee. This covers the three-day notice, court appearances, attorney fees, court costs, and any other related costs. I’m not going to state here what the current fee is because it changes from time to time. Check HERE to see our current all-in-one eviction fee.

We are looking at adding eviction protection insurance as a service to our property owners. For an additional small monthly fee, eviction costs will be covered. If that is something you may be interested in, let us know. We are currently gauging the level of interest there is for that kind of service.

While an eviction is sometimes necessary, it is out ultimate goal to avoid evictions because we understand that evictions and move-outs are costly. We want to save our property owners the expense and frustration of evictions. Please also read What Happens if a Tenant Doesn’t Pay the Rent? to learn more about what we do to avoid costly evictions and move-outs.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

Why it is so important to check criminal and eviction records manually?

Have you been to your local courthouse lately?

About four years ago we approved a tenant application, the tenant moved in, and then we had to evict them roughly six months later. On a whim, we went to the local court and found out the tenant had a recent conviction that did not show up on the background check we had conducted with the tenant application. This caused us to take a look at our tenant screening process.

We found that the national databases we had been using were not as accurate or timely as we had assumed. For a variety of reasons including infrequent updates and missed filings, national databases were limited in their accuracy. While we still use them to search for out of the area information, for local background checks, we rely on manual background checks.

Manually checks are beneficial for several reasons:

  1. Accuracy. Conducting the background check manually will ensure it is done thoroughly and the information is available as soon as it is filed. This means it doesn’t matter if the tenant had an eviction filed the day before, we’ll find out about this. We manually check eviction and criminal records.
  2. Better understanding.  Manually doing checks allows you to better understand the process and filing system within your local courts. You know how it works and how to find information quickly and easily.
  3. Limit frustration. Manual background checks have allowed us to limit the frustration of evictions and other problems property owners may experience when dealing with bad tenants.

When screen tenant applications, be sure to also conduct a Landlord Verification. Follow the link to learn the benefits and challenges of verifications.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you

 

7 Steps to Flawless Tenant Screening

Through years of experience in the field, we’ve narrowed our tenant screening process down to a specific set of steps that allow us to work quickly to fill the apartments and houses we manage with the best possible tenants. This is an overview of our process. Hopefully it can help you in screening your tenants.

  1. Create a checklist. We’ve learned that working from checklists ensures consistency and accuracy in everything we do. While some feel that checklists are tedious, it will actually save you time and frustration. You won’t need to worry about forgetting anything. Additionally, following a checklist will provide the consistency needed to help keep you out of Fair Housing Hell. We use property management software that allows for the creation and monitoring of checklists, but you can also just use a notebook and pen.
  2. We send a welcome email and phone call after an application is submitted. The welcome email will include additional information we’ll need to run their application, and the phone call is to ensure they received the email. The additional information requested includes employer and landlord waivers that need signed and returned, so we can contact them.
  3. Run background checks. This includes a credit, eviction, and criminal background checks. We check a nationwide database, but also manually check with the local courts. Again, we’ve learned over the years that national background check databases are limited in how accurate they can be, so it is essential to Manually Check Eviction and Criminal
  4. Get other verification in order. In addition to background checks, we conduct a landlord verification to try to find out if they consistently pay their rent on time and if they caused damage to their previous residence. Read Problems with Landlord Verification in Screening and the Solution to learn more about landlord verification.
  5. Collect information. We request copies of the previous 30-days’ worth of pay stubs, a copy of a photo ID for each adult that will be living on the property, and a photo of any pets they have. Photos and IDs are important, so you know exactly who and what animals will be living there.
  6. Create a summary. Once all the verification and background checks are complete, compose a summary of the results. Within the summary, we include the final decision on whether or not the lease will be offered to them. This is important because if they insist on knowing why they were not offered the lease, the reason needs to be clear to keep you out of Fair Housing Hell.
  7. Notify tenant and collect hold fee. If the applicant is being offered the lease, they are notified immediately and asked to pay a hold fee. The hold fee, unlike a deposit, is non-refundable. If they go through with renting the property, the hold fee is applied to their deposit.

Hopefully, this was helpful. If you have any questions about our process, feel free to ask. If you are interesting in having us handle your leasing process or learning more about the services we offer, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

 

Problems with Landlord Verification in Screening and the Solution

People regularly ask us if we actually do landlord verification. There are varied opinions among landlords and property managers over whether or not this is an effective method of tenant screening.

Despite the potential problems, which I’ll discuss if you can get a landlord to speak honestly and from knowledge about a tenant, they can provide some of the most valuable information. First, when I say from knowledge, I mean a landlord that was involved with the day-to-day; one that knew first-hand what kind of tenant the applicant has been or will be.

Why is landlord verification so valuable?

Because current and past landlords can provide you with the two most important pieces of information, you need when deciding whether or not to accept a tenant application.

  1. Do they pay and on time
  2. Did they do damage to the property

There are plenty of smaller bits of information you’ll need to know, but those two are the most important because they separate the good tenants from the not good tenants. What else could you want?

It might seem like common sense to talk to their landlord, but the property managers that are hesitant to do so, are with good reason. Current landlords may not be entirely honest with you about the tenant or may purposely mislead you.

Why would a landlord purposely mislead you? Obviously, you’re both in the same business; there should be some level of comradery there, right? There are two primary reasons a landlord will mislead a prospective landlord.

  1. The tenant is fantastic and they don’t want to lose them. If a landlord does not want to lose a tenant that pays on time, keeps the place clean, and doesn’t cause problems, they may mislead prospective landlords into thinking there are issues with the tenant to keep them.
  2. The tenant is horrible. Likewise, if a landlord wants to get rid of a tenant without the expense of an eviction, they may make the individual sound better than they are to convince you to rent to them.

With the risk of being misled, why would we still conduct landlord verification? While not completely fool-proof, we have found a solution to this problem.

In some cases, we know the previous landlord or property manager, and we are confident they will provide us with accurate information. Being in the business for a while, we’ve had the opportunity to network with many of the property owners in the area, which helps.

However, the solution, since you can’t bank on knowing the previous landlord is to get landlord information going back two addresses. If you can get in contact with the applicant’s previous landlord; not the one they are currently renting from, you can get more accurate information. The former landlord will have no vested interest in misleading you because the tenant is no longer with them anyway.

For more information on how we screen tenants, go to 7 Steps to Flawless Tenant Screening.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

Do You Have Hoarders Living in Your Property?

Have you seen the show Hoarders?

It depicts people with compulsive hoarding issues that cause them to collect things…lots of things. Hoarding leads to a home filled with trash and clutter. So much so that rooms get blocked off or it becomes unsafe to navigate the apartment.

Hoarders can also lead to damage to the structure of the building. There can be issues like water leaks that go undetected due to the hoard. Hoarding can also lead to damaged floors and walls. It can lead to bugs or mold, which cause additional damage.

The bottom line is you do not want a hoarder renting one of your properties. It leads to a very expensive move out when the apartment will need emptied, cleaned, and repaired before it can be rented again.

What can you do to prevent a hoarder from damaging your properties?

This one is difficult because you do not know when meeting the perspective tenant that they are hoarders. We work hard to help our landlords avoid having a hoarder take over a property. We do that in two ways.

  1. Careful screening. Screening for hoarding is not as easy as screening for other issues. It is not something that will show up on a credit or criminal background check. What we do is get the contact information for a couple of their previous landlords. While this is not a foolproof approach, it helps in avoiding the situation altogether
  2.  Three-month inspection. Three months gives a new tenant time to get settled in their new home. If there are hoarding issues, they will likely start to show by three months. Identifying the problem early gives us the opportunity to work with the tenant to set cleanliness expectations and to follow-up to ensure the mess is handled.

Again, there is no sure-fire way to avoid having a hoarder damage your property. However, through careful screening and follow-up inspections, you can mitigate the risk and hopefully reduce or eliminate any damage to your property. We freely do this for all the property owners. It is always our goal to provide them with the most stress-free and cost-effective experience possible.

Dealing with a hoarder is a situation where before and after video inspections may become highly critical to establish the extent of the damage caused to the property. Watch for our upcoming post on the value of video inspections.

Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!

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