I wrote the following back in 2007. It still holds true today.
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As a real estate investment counselor I have the opportunity to interact with a lot of tenant/landlord situations. Of course, I manage my own properties and I help others to do the same if they choose not to go down the road of hiring a property manager.
I believe proper tenant screening is the best way to avoid troubles down the road. You should subscribe to a service that will run credit reports and criminal background checks and the sexual offenders list. But sometimes the best way to get a good feeling, or bad, about prospective tenants is just have a conversation with them. And throw in these questions. Not in bullet form as presented here. But in the course of showing the rental property and going over the lease application.
6 Questions to Ask Prospective Tenants
- Why are you moving?
- Lived there long?
- Ever considered buying your own home? (comment: I don’t ask because I’m a REALTOR. I ask because they will bring up credit issues, divorce issues, criminal issues, everything under the sun.)
- What changes made to your current residence would make you want to stay?
- What would your commute be from here?
- Is there anything you need to explain before I find it on the credit report?
Seemingly innocuous questions designed to generate conversation. Give it a try. You’ll find out a lot about the people.