It isn’t easy looking for tenants to fill your vacant properties in Fort Walton Beach. So, when there is an interested tenant, you want to get them to sign a lease right away. However, there are important things you should do before quickly giving them a lease agreement.
You don’t want to rent out your property to just any tenants in Fort Walton Beach. You want to make sure they will take care of your property and pay rent on time, right?
With any prospective tenant, you should conduct a tenant screening. With this screening process, you can decide whether the tenant is a good fit for your property.
Remember, sometimes a vacant property is better than having a bad tenant who may cause damage or cost you money.
The Importance of a Tenant Screening Process
Unfortunately, there are some bad tenants out there that cause significant headaches for landlords. You’ve invested a lot of time and money in your rental property – you don’t want to rent it to just any tenant in Fort Walton Beach.
When you do find a good prospect, you should always go through a thorough screening process with them. This screening process allows you to collect necessary information about the prospective tenant before allowing them to sign a lease.
During the screening process, you can ask for bank statements, run a credit and background check, and ask for references. This information will help you decide whether to rent to them or not.
You can also hire a property management company to conduct these tenant screenings. In fact, they will even find the tenants for you! 42.3% of landlords hire property management companies to manage their tenants and residents.
Whether you self-manage your property or hire a company to find tenants for you, you should do your due diligence. Get to know your prospective tenants through records and interview their references.
If you’re stuck as to what questions to ask their references, we’ve come up with a list just for you.
Questions for Previous Landlords
One of the best references you could ask potential tenants in Fort Walton Beach to provide is a previous landlord. Since these landlords have had direct experience renting to them, they can give you honest answers.
1. Did the tenant pay rent on time and in full each month?
As a landlord, you rely on collecting rent from your tenants each month. If you have a tenant who is consistently late with rent or doesn’t pay it at all, you could have many issues on your hands.
2. Were there any damages to the property after the tenant moved out?
There’s a reason tenants submit a security deposit at the beginning of their lease. However, that doesn’t stop all of them from damaging the property. Sometimes landlords are stuck with damages the deposit doesn’t cover.
3. Did the tenant communicate well with you?
Communication is key in everything we do. When it comes to a landlord-tenant relationship, communication is essential. You want to make sure you’re both available and can respond in a timely manner.
4. Would you rent to this tenant again if you had the chance?
This is an important question that you should pay attention to. When you ask if the landlord would rent to the tenant again, you want them to say “yes.” This means they didn’t cause problems and were likely good tenants.
5. Did you receive complaints about the tenant from neighbors?
While the landlord may not have had any direct issues with a tenant, that doesn’t mean the neighbors were as lucky. You want to be sure the prospective tenant won’t disturb your other tenants or neighbors as this could cause issues down the line.
Questions for Employers
It’s important to speak with your prospect’s employer. While some landlords may feel uncomfortable doing this, it is essential that your tenant makes enough money to pay rent each month.
There are some things that are appropriate to ask an employer and some things that are not. The main reason for checking this reference is to verify employment and the tenant’s salary. Questions about their personality or work ethic aren’t necessarily appropriate.
6. How long has the tenant worked at the company?
An ideal tenant will have been in their position for a little while, preferably a year or two at least. When a tenant has just started a new job, there is still potential for them to realize it isn’t a good fit.
7. What is the tenant’s salary or hourly wage?
While this question may seem a little personal, it’s important for you as a landlord to know the answer. You want to make sure they can afford the rent as well as the utilities and other expenses.
A good rule of thumb is that 30% of their income should be allocated for rent. If they don’t make enough, you may hear an excuse as to why rent is not on time one month.
8. How many hours a week does the tenant work?
If your potential tenant is paid an hourly wage, you should know how many hours they work. This will give you a rough idea of how much they make per month.
9. What are the terms of the tenant’s employment?
Your prospect may be making enough money to pay the rent, but for how long? You should understand whether the tenant is a contractor, full-time employee, or temporary hire.
10. Will the tenant be working there for the foreseeable future?
With the economy the way it is, layoffs are not uncommon. You don’t want to rent to a tenant who may lose their job two months into the lease and scramble to pay rent each month.
Questions for Personal References
If you still want more information after speaking with previous landlords and the potential tenant’s employer, you can contact personal references. We recommend taking these answers with a grain of salt, though. Friends and family members are more likely to embellish their answers for the tenant.
However, if you do decide to contact them, here are some helpful questions you can ask.
11. How long have you known the tenant?
You can tell a lot about someone depending on how long you’ve known them. The longer the reference knows the tenant, the more valuable their answers are. You can ask about their relationship with the tenant along with this question too.
12. Have you been to the tenant’s home? Can you describe it?
This question will give you some insight as to how they take care of their home. If the reference says that it was a disaster and disgusting, then you may not want to rent to them.
13. What is the tenant’s lifestyle?
Everyone enjoys doing different things and we all have different lifestyles. While one tenant may be quiet and reserved, another may like to play hostess and stay up late at night. This question will give you insight as to what you can expect from the potential tenant.
14. Does the tenant have any pets?
On the prospective tenant’s application, they should have answered this question. However, asking another person is a good idea to see if they lied. Some tenants do tend to lie about having a pet to avoid paying a pet deposit or fee.
15. Would you recommend this person to a landlord?
While the answer to this question doesn’t hold as much bearing as asking a previous landlord, it’s a good one to ask. If the personal reference wouldn’t recommend them, you should start looking for another tenant.
Do You Need Help Finding Tenants in Fort Walton Beach?
Did you know you can hire someone to find tenants and screen them for your rental properties in Fort Walton Beach? All American Realty and Investment Group’s Fort Walton Beach Property Management can do the hard work for you so you can sit back and relax.
At All American Realty, we can fill your vacancies in just one week! Along with finding tenants, we will also manage and maintain your property, collect rental payments, and more.
Contact us to see how we can help you make the most out of your real estate investment today!