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...
More

Real Estate Investing Baby Steps

Taking Baby Steps
Kids are interesting beasts. One minute they lack a certain skill, and the next, they suddenly possess the skill. For example, last week my daughter could not walk. She could stand on her own. She could pick up items and inspect them while standing. But when it came to traveling, she would plop down on all fours. She didn't really show an interest in walking either. Then without warning, while hanging out in the bedroom, she stood up and took a couple baby steps like it was no big deal...
More

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 ...
More

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 ...
More

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...
More

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 ...
More

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...
More

The Definitive Guide To Posting Housing Rentals On Craigslist

Screening tenants well is critically important to your real estate success. It's the foundation of maximizing cash flow while minimizing headaches. But, before you can screen a tenant, you need them to apply to live in your rental. Before that, you need to get their attention and pique their interest by marketing your rental. Before 1995, this article would have talked about newspaper ads and short phrases to use in order to minimize character counts and therefore costs (w/d 3/2...). However...
More