When we go about our daily lives, we want to assume that everyone is exactly who they say they are and they aren’t trying to trick or exploit us to get what they want. In reality, landlords and property managers are running a business and housing is in high demand. It’s inevitable that tenant applicants will try to use everything at their disposal to give the appearance of legitimacy or professionalism even where none exists. You have something desirable – a rental property – and they want it.
When It Seems Too Good to Be True
On a personal level, it’s always preferable to give people the benefit of the doubt. Most people are honest folks who want to make a living and get on with their day to day life, and those are the types of folks we love to whom we love to rent property. Unfortunately, there are always a handful of people out there who will go the underhanded route to try to pull a fast one. It’s the art of distraction, and some people are really good at it. With the right experience and advice, you can learn to spot these distractions and read them for what they are.
One such distraction is the tendency for people to try to appear more affluent than they are, perhaps in the hopes that you don’t delve too deeply into their financial history or credit. Most seasoned landlords know it’s a good idea to meet potential tenants in person before renting out a property, so when you meet your prospective tenant, consider the aura they’re giving off. Are they wearing clothing or driving a vehicle that doesn’t seem to match the area of the rental or flashing accessories at you in an attempt to draw your attention? Go with your gut on this one. If you feel something isn’t quite right, it’s worth a deeper look.
It’s not uncommon for applicants like these to try to convince you that you don’t need to look into their background, but it’s always recommended that you do so anyway. Even if you have a good feeling about a tenant from the start, it’s wise to use a screening service to make sure they are exactly who they say they are. Pay special attention to employment, financials, and credit. This is where you’ll discover whether a person truly is in a good financial position or whether they’re just attempting to appear that way. It’s entirely possible that people with limited budgets can still own nice things – in and of itself, it doesn’t mean much. However, in conjunction with a credit score and employment history, you may get a more well-rounded picture.
For help in selecting the right tenants for your properties, we recommend our RentalConnect program. RentalConnect offers property owners and landlords a great alternative to the expense of full tenant screening. This service requires no on-site visit, sign-up, or membership fees, making it extra convenient. The $34.95 service fee is paid by the applicant. Available 24/7, RentalConnect is fast, easy, secure, and delivers reports needed to make an informed decision, including a credit report, a national criminal search, and a national eviction search.