Saturday, January 5, 2013

Making Use of a Tenant Screening Interview

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As a property owner that has made the decision to manage your property, there is much in store for you to learn if you are not experienced in this area. It is not difficult though contrary to what you may be thinking. The key is to being organized and operating it as a business if you intend on realizing a financial return on your investment.

Naturally the most important aspect of having rental property as an investment means that in order for it to be successful, it has to create a cash flow. This is done through the tenants that are going to be renting from you. Therefore, in order to keep your profit margin as lucrative as possible you need reputable tenants.
You will no doubt have a rental application form in place as well as a lease, but finding the right tenants goes beyond this. Anyone can look good on paper, but you really need to learn something about your tenants and that's why screening tenants is so important.

You application is the starting point. Once the prospective tenants have completed the application set up an interview meeting with them. All too often one person will fill out the application but it doesn't give you any idea as to what the other person/s are going to be like living there. So when you set up your interview insist that all members that are going to be living at the premises come to the interview. Even the kids because you must consider them as well.
So really what is the interview going to tell you that the application form hasn't already? This is the time where you are going to be able to use some techniques for screening tenants.

Get to know the applicant:
Ask questions in general. Remember potential applicants are always going to be on their best behavior, after all they want the apartment. You need to see how they respond aside from the issue of the rental unit. For example, if you mention that the location is a nice neighborhood for raising kids what is their response? If they seem to be pleased by this (naturally if they are a family) then they are showing they are responsible parents. If they retort that the neighborhood they are currently living in is horrid and crime ridden for example, then this is going to raise some thoughts for you. Is the old neighborhood a low income area? If so then what has changed, that the prospective applicants can afford to move into a higher scale neighborhood. This is only one small factor of many however, to lead you to your final decision.

What does these actions tell you?
When you are screening applicants be sure to watch their facial expressions and pay attention to their tone of voice. If you are showing them a run down apartment that is in real need of work, before you make any explanation to them, see what their reaction is. If it's one of real concern then you can bet the applicant is house conscious, and is going to have some respect for your premises. Of course your must assure the prospective tenant that the premises will be available in "move in" condition once the tenants have been accepted.

The Children's behavior
If there are children that are going to be living on the premises of course you want them to be respectful of your property. Remember though kids will be kids, and if you are going to rent to families then you will need to make some concessions. What you want to watch for though during this interview, is if the adults responsible for the children, are keeping the kids in control throughout the interview, if the children appear to be getting a bit out of hand. If so, then you can be comfortable in knowing that as parents they will be monitoring what the kids are up to both inside and outside.

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