Especially if you’ve never done it before, finding tenants for your rental property can cause a lot of anxiety. Plenty of things can go wrong — maybe your tenant doesn’t pay the rent; maybe the place gets trashed or your items are stolen; maybe you don’t find a tenant at all and it’s left vacant. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to make sure you find both more and better applicants.
The first step is to make tenants want to live there. Depending on the neighborhood, it may be true that many tenants don’t actually care what the property looks like and just want a roof over their head. But you’ll get those applicants regardless, so you should focus on making your property look and sound good to tenants who are truly looking for a place to call home. Proofread your listing and include attractive photos. Step two is formalizing the application process. There are several good questions to include on the application. You’ll want to have contact information, including full name, address, and contact information for supervisors, emergency contacts, and previous landlords. You also want to verify their identification and make sure their income is high enough to pay the rent. The third step is very important: You need to actually use that information. Call their supervisor and ask about their work reliability, and talk to their previous landlords about any specific concerns you may have. The last step is to meet the prospective tenant in person. You can get a good idea of what a person is like with just a single meeting, but it’s a lot harder if all your communication was by phone or email. If something feels off, you should trust your gut and find a different tenant, even if it’s only to spare you some nervousness.