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How to find Tenants for a Rental Property: A Step-by-Step Guide

Your rental property is a business.  

Would you hire an unreliable employee who didn't do the duties you were paying them for and didn't take care of the assets and tools you provided them with?  An unreliable employee is not an asset; they are a liability - and if you look at your rental property as a business, so is an unreliable tenant

Finding and attracting high-quality renters helps you build a thriving rental business. Learn how in this step-by-step article.

Why It's Important to Find High-Quality Tenants 

If you want to run a smooth and profitable rental business, finding high-quality renters is cricital. High-quality renters are important for numerous reasons. First and foremost, a quality tenant will consistently pay their rent on time and in full. Requiring a credit check during the screening process can help you assess applicants’ financial stability. You may also want to request references from previous property owners if you can, giving you a peek into the applicant’s rental history. 

Another benefit of renting to high-quality tenants is that this type of tenant is more likely to take pride in maintaining the place they live. Carefully screening tenants helps you mitigate the risk of property damage and disturbances in your community. You can encourage this behavior by requiring all renters to pay a security deposit. 

Utilizing tenant leasing and screening software, like Intellirent, can save you time and headaches tracking and receiving applicant information and documentation. For instance, employment verifications can be easily managed and accessed within the software, simplifying the tenant screening process. The software's centralized platform streamlines data management and reduces the risk of errors or misplaced documentation. By leveraging technology, leasing agents can enhance their screening procedures and make informed decisions about prospective tenants.

Pro-Tip: Consider offering a referral program to your current renters. Strong, existing renters will appreciate the opportunity to receive a reward for a positive referral, and you can attract more high-quality renters easily and efficiently through these trusted recommendations. 

How to Find Tenants for a Rental Property: 5 Steps to Follow 

Finding the right tenants for a rental property can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be! Following a thorough and organized process is crucial to ensure success and minimize risks to help you build long-term tenant relationships and achieve stable cashflow.

1. Create an Attractive Property Listing 

The first step to finding high-quality renters for your property is to make your property listing stand out from the crowd. Start by taking photos that showcase the property's best features. Utilize natural light and consider hiring a professional photographer. A professional photographer can be particularly effective if you have multiple identical units, as you can use the same photos for multiple listings, getting the most bang for your buck. 

You may also want to consider hiring a decorator to stage the property can create an appealing ambiance. Highlight the property's unique selling points in the listing, such as recent upgrades, renovations, and its prime location. Emphasize any nearby attractions or amenities, such as parks or shopping centers, to attract potential tenants. 

When writing the listing, use clear and concise language, avoiding industry jargon and ensure you don’t accidentally include any discriminatory language. Provide essential details such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, and location. For maximum visibility, publish your listing everywhere, utilizing content syndication and targeting popular websites in your area.

2. Set and Communicate Clear Rental Criteria 

Establishing clear rental criteria is crucial to streamlining your screening process. If you do not have clear criteria — and if you don’t communicate those criteria to your applicants. 

Determine minimum qualifications, considering factors like credit scores, income, and rental history. Apply these criteria consistently to all applicants to ensure fairness and avoid discrimination or falling out of compliance with fair housing laws. 

Clearly communicate the criteria in your listing, being specific about the minimum requirements for each qualification. Explain any special circumstances or exceptions that may apply. Taking the time to establish and communicate this information will save unqualified applicants time applying when they will be rejected and will save you time reviewing applications from renters who do not qualify. 

Pro-Tip: Make sure you understand your state and region’s specific regulations regarding rental criteria to ensure you do not fall out of compliance. 

3. Collect and Manage Applications 

Once you’ve set your criteria you’re ready to begin receiving applications! This step is where organization and simplification becomes essential. We recommend using a simple-to-use online application form. This type of solution streamlines data collection and management for you while making the application process simpler for your applicants. 

Intellirent, for example, offers an integrated software solution that securely streamlines the application process. You can use our tool to create a customized online application comprised of the exact forms you need, giving you all the data you need to approve or reject an applicant. 

When accepting applications online, you’ll want to ensure you provide clear instructions for completing the application and ensure applicants understand the required information. Clear instructions will reduce confusion and cut down on the back-and-forth questions applicants will have while filling out their applications.

Next, implement a spreadsheet, database, or tool to keep track of all applications and their status. Advanced tools like Intellirent will include this functionality for streamlined screening and application processing. Establish a timeline for processing applications to ensure timely follow-up. Promptly follow up with applicants, notifying them of their application status. Provide clear instructions for the next steps, such as scheduling a showing or submitting additional information.

4. Conduct Thorough Tenant Screening 

After reviewing applications, you need to verify some critical information to ensure your applicants will be reliable renters. Step four in your process should be thorough tenant screening. 

Verify income, employment, and rental history by requesting pay stubs or other income verification documents. You should also plan to contact current and previous employers to confirm the applicant’s employment status. 

You may also consider reaching out to previous property managers to verify rental history. This step can be helpful in identifying potential red flags like property damage, rent delinquency, and more. 

Run a credit check and background check using a reputable screening service to assess financial and legal history. Ensure you verify the applicant's identity and check for any criminal records. A solution like Intellirent offers all these screening processes in a single interface, enabling you to easily collect and analyze this data. Utilizing Intellirent also helps prevent double entry and human error, improving accuracy and efficiency. 

Pro-Tip: You can also use Intellirent to collaborate internally with your staff and externally with your applicants, making it simple to manage all your documentation and screening processes. 

5. Approve Candidates 

Once you’ve made your decision and approved a candidate for your property, all that’s left to do is communicate that decision to the applicant!

Reach out promptly with clear instructions for next steps, such as signing the lease and paying the deposit. Explain the lease terms and any special requirements they should be aware of. You will also want to clearly outline the process for paying the security deposit and any other fees at this stage in the process. 

Periodically follow up with your approved candidates to ensure a smooth move-in process. Confirm move-in details, such as the date and time, and provide them with any necessary information. Remember: the more positive and welcome your new renter feels, the better relationship you’ll have with them for the duration of their lease. 

Find Qualified Renters, Faster, With Intellirent 

Finding qualified renters is essential for the success of any rental property, and following a thorough and organized process is key. By adhering to the steps outlined in this article, you can make it easier to find high-quality tenants who will pay rent on time and take care of the property. It's important to remember that finding the right tenant is an ongoing process that requires continuous effort and attention.

Utilize a leasing software solution like Intellirent can help you streamline your renter screening and leasing processes. Our software automates many of the time-consuming tasks involved in the process, such as background checks and document management. By leveraging technology, leasing agents can save valuable time and ensure a more efficient and accurate screening process.

If you're looking to enhance your tenant screening and leasing process, consider exploring Intellirent. You can book a product tour to learn more about its features and how it can benefit your leasing efforts. Don't miss out on the opportunity to find qualified renters faster and simplify your leasing process! 

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