Renting a property can be a daunting task. There are so many questions to be answered. How do you pick the right tenant? How do you know if this person will pay the rent and on time? Do you hire a Realtor to market and help you screen a tenant? Hiring a Realtor is the easy way to rent a property. However, if you do not have the money to pay the Realtor, you will have to do it yourself. Here are a few tips to help you market your property and choose a good tenant.
Prepare the property. A clean well maintained property will always rent for more money and faster than one that is dirty and unkempt. If budget permits, paint the interior with a neutral colored paint. Shampoo the carpets or replace if needed.
Price the property. Find out what similar properties are renting for in the neighborhood. You can ask a local realtor or look on the internet. Price your property to match your competition. If you are in a hurry price the property below your competition’s price.
Place ads. You can always place ads in your local paper. If money is tight, stick to Craigslist. Make sure to list the best features of your property. Make sure to state if you will be charging any fees (like credit check or processing fee). Decide if you will allow pets and say so in the ad. Add pictures whenever possible.
Show the property. Whenever you show the property make sure to let people see the whole house. Let them wonder around and view the house at their leisure. Don’t rush your potential tenants. Ask if they have any questions. Make sure to hand them an informational flyer with a picture of the house and a rental application and credit check form.
Get the right forms. You can purchase rental and credit application forms from your local office supply store. You can also purchase these forms online. There are websites that cater to landlords. They will sell you the forms and do a background check. Just do a google search for landlord services or tenant background check.
Do a background check. You will always want to run a credit check. Do research on how to read a credit report. These days a good credit score is anything above 600. This is part of the background check. You can choose to do an evictions check or a criminal background check. Obviously, the more you check the higher the cost. You can pass on the costs to the potential tenant. Just make sure that you post the fee in the rental ad.
Check references. Most people ask for references but few people bother to call and verify the information. Call the current landlord. Ask if he/she has paid the rent on time. Ask if he/she is maintaining the property in decent condition.
The interview. Review the information on the rental application. Review the credit report and background check. Ask any questions necessary to clarify any inconsistencies. Ask why they are moving. Clarify when they want to move in.
Drafting the lease. You can buy a general property lease from your office supply store. You can also purchase a lease online. Fill out the lease and sign. I recommend that you insist on collecting the deposit and first months rent in certified funds (bank check or money order). Make sure you and the tenant understand everything that is on the lease.
Make sure to check if you need a rental license and lead paint laws.