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4 Tenant Pre Screening Steps You Should Be Taking

PMI North Texas - Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Property Management Blog

How do you attract and select the right tenants for your rental properties? You could gather as many applications as possible, sort through them, follow up on references, and show all of them the house. However, this is time-consuming and can get expensive with all of the credit and background checks you’ll need to run. 

Instead, you can build natural screening steps into your tenant search. These filter out tenants that don’t meet your criteria. You’ll save time, money, and effort. 

Consider adding these four steps to your tenant pre-screening process. 

1. Screen Applicants in Your Rental Listing

Your rental listing is the first point of contact with hundreds or possibly thousands of people. How you present your property will dictate the type of applicants you attract. Aim to create a listing that will attract quality tenants. 

Create a catchy title, use professional quality photos, and describe your property in detail. Highlight the amenities and desirable features that would appeal to your desired tenant. 

Include in your listing if you require an application fee and that you require credit, eviction, and background checks. If someone doesn’t want you to run these checks or can’t afford your application fee, they won’t reach out. 

2. Pre-Showing Phone Interview

Speak with applicants over the phone and ask a set list of screening questions. This short phone call will save you time. If the property doesn’t meet their needs or they don’t meet your minimum requirements, then you save yourself an unnecessary showing. 

  • When are you looking to move in?

  • Can I ask for references from your former landlords and employer?

  • Will you submit a rental application and authorize a credit and background check?

  • The security deposit is $X. Are you comfortable with that deposit amount?

  • Do you have pets?

  • Do you smoke?

  • Will you have roommates?

If you or the tenant aren’t in agreement with the answers to these questions, then you can stop moving forward. This saves you time and quickly narrows your potential tenant pool. 

3. Pay Attention at the Property Showing

Meet each potential applicant separately. This lets you focus on the applicant and remember details about the meeting. The showing is often the only time you’ll meet a potential tenant before making your decision. 

Look for red flags that could alert you to potential issues. Conversely, look for positive details that signal the applicant is desirable. 

  • Did they show up on time? 

  • How do they care for their belongings? 

  • Are they engaged and asking important questions? 

  • Do they complete the rental application? 

  • Do they agree to a credit and background check? 

  • Are they asking about the process moving forward? 

4. Fact Check the Rental Application

Applicants can put any information they want to on your rental application. It’s your job to fact check the information and confirm the potential tenant’s viability. Run a credit check and confirm employment to confirm the tenant’s ability and to pay. Run a background check to determine if the applicant meets your requirements. 

Follow up with the landlord, professional, and personal references. Be personable and ask the right questions to get to the truth of who the tenant is. 

Improve Your  Tenant Pre Screening

Changing your tenant search to include these four screening steps will improve your ability to screen potential applicants. By building filters into your marketing, phone interview, and property showings, you can naturally screen out potential tenants. This makes the process of tenant selection easier, requiring less time and effort on your part. 

If you still don’t have the patience or time for finding new tenants, then work with a property manager. They can manage the tenant screening and selection process for you. 

Contact our office today and let our skilled team help you develop an effective tenant pre-screening process.