Six Questions to Ask Prospective Tenants

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

  1. Why are you moving?
  2. Lived there long?
  3. 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.)
  4. What changes made to your current residence would make you want to stay?
  5. What would your commute be from here?
  6. 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.

5 Comments

Filed under Property Management

5 responses to “Six Questions to Ask Prospective Tenants

  1. Eric

    How about are you a known Hoarder?

  2. Or in your case, do you keep chairs that are urine soaked?

  3. Jo Amick

    You made several excellent points here. I also feel that making a trip to the prospective tenant house is an excellent idea. If one can see how the tenant currently lives, then it will show how they will upkeep the new property. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Amazing how some of the simple questions are timeless. I think most owners are in such a hurry to fill a vacancy that they forget these always important things.

  5. I appreciated the insight of the questions you have to ask. I sometimes work with agents who are looking to help people go from renting to owning. I know an agent who rents properties himself and I am going to forward this for his information. Thanks.

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