Use a Lawful Application When Renting to Tenants

Application To Rent
I was recently asked, "What do I do if someone I don't want to rent to wants to apply?" Answer: You let them apply. Put simply, this should be your motto: Everyone is welcome to apply. But wait! Let's you talk to them on the phone, and they have an obvious problem where you know they won't pass your screening criteria. Wouldn't doing a walk through or accepting their application be a waste of time and misleading to them?! Been there. I once talked to someone who had a recent crimina...
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My Tenant’s Lease is Coming To An End, Now What?

Hand Shake on Lease Agreement
One day, seemingly out of the blue, a gentlemen called me with a problem and he wanted my help. He owned an apartment building and almost 2 years ago (after he moved out of the area) his property management company signed a 2-year lease with a sex offender. Not surprisingly, people started moving out and so the management company doubled down on their strategy by signing more 1-year leases with more sex offenders. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), they couldn't...
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The Neuroscience Behind Tenant Screening

I own a Nest Thermostat. It's a great little device because it's internet connection allows it to learn about my heating patterns: It knows when I wake up and how warm I like it. It also automatically turns the heater off when I leave. My favorite feature is the ability to control it with my phone. That means I can turn it on before getting home so I arrive to a toasty home (or when sitting on the couch). Oh yeah. And it cost $250. That's a lot for a thermostat. Especially when I have ...
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Trust, But Verify Your Tenant With Interest and Discernment

Validating Application
  Let's say someone applied to live at your rental. This, by the way, is fantastic and awesome. Congratulations! Your next step is to "trust, but verify" what they told you. What you're essentially saying is that you believe what they wrote on their application, and the next step in the standard process is to validate their application with more information. And as you verify things, you'll want to do it with interest and discernment (That's the I & D of The S.O.L.I.D. Screening ...
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Ask James: Should You Really Pick The First Qualified Applicant?

Tenant Screening From a Pool of Applicants
Today we're going to try something new. Chances are you have questions when it comes to your real estate investment. I know I did when I first got started (and to be honest, still have questions). I'd like to help answer your questions like the one below about picking the first qualified applicant. You can send your questions on our contact page and I'll answer them. Today's question comes from Kelly on tenant screening. He asked, "Do I really need to pick the first qualified applicant? O...
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Making The Walk Through a “Walk in the Park”

Lock Box
This might sound crazy, but part of being a landlord involves interacting with people. Today, I'd like to talk with you about one of the more time consuming interactions: the walk through. I'll cover the three general types, in order of the most interaction required, and their pros and cons. Then I'll share 7 tips to use during the walk through that'll make your walk throughs like "a walk in the park".   1) One-on-One Meeting The one-on-one meeting takes the most time because you g...
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Are You Asking The Right Pre-Screening Questions?

Phone
5:10pm. Ten minutes late. Noted. Car looks pretty beat up. Noted. Two dogs barking like crazy in the car. Noted. The husband tosses his cigarette on the freshly swept driveway as they step out of the car... Noted... We start talking... They're between jobs and getting kicked out of their current place for some "unknown" reason and need a new place pronto... Noted? Wait! Why I am here? Why did I clearly waste my time driving over to meet with them when they clearly do NOT meet ...
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Create S.O.L.I.D. Screening Criteria To Find Responsible Tenants

S.O.L.I.D.
There exists perhaps one area for landlords that is the absolute most critical area for success, and yet seems like black magic to new landlords: screening prospective tenants. Typically we have a gut feeling for what we want, but struggle to articulate it. We sometimes also fear we'll be forced to accept someone we don't want because of landlord-tenant laws (which is itself black magic). It can definitely be intimidating. The solution is to use what I call the S.O.L.I.D. Screening Method...
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Responsible Tenants Are the Drummers of Rental Real Estate

Have you ever heard a music band that was just off? Sure, each musician was probably great, but for some reason it wasn't coming together? I experienced that once, but the reason was obvious: the drummer was missing. Because of this, the band sounded disjointed and off-beat. You could also see the concentration on their faces as they all strained to keep the beat. Nobody, include me, was enjoying themselves. When he finally showed up, they were in the middle of a song and kept playing. He...
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How To Determine How Much To Charge For Rent

"How much do you charge for rent?" Such a simple question, yet the answer influences so much! Give too high of an answer and the potential tenant might think it's too expensive and look somewhere else before hearing more about the property. Go too low and you'll lose out on money for repairs, and paying yourself, which could result in a less-than-desirable rental in a few years. Of course, charging at the low end of the market means resident turnover will be low and you'll have ti...
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