As a professional property manager, owners are always asking me to find them a tenant, and if you are trying to do the same thing for one of your Santa Cruz rental properties, there are a couple of things you want to keep in mind.
First, there is the matter of advertising. Placing an ad on Craigslist has its benefits and negatives. For those of you who have done this before, you can relate. There are all kinds of crazy people out there and as a result, a Craigslist ad will often leave you inundated with lots of phone calls and stories from all sorts of people. You will also get a lot of callers who sound really great and then don’t show up at the property. It takes a lot of time to manage Craigslist. Although people will point out that it’s free, it’s actually not. The amount of time it takes to write up descriptions, take really good photos, load the ad and then re-post the ad every few days costs a lot of time. In my book, time is money. So, Craigslist is not free.
When you ask a property manager for help in finding a tenant, you are not going to have to waste time. You’ll also understand that property managers know all the red flags and how to weed out undesirable tenants. Here are a few of those red flags:
1. Someone who talks and talks and talks. When this happens, that person is probably trying to feel you out and figure out what they can get away with. Basically, this is a business deal so you don’t need to know everyone’s life story. You aren’t a counselor or a therapist, you’re a landlord.
2. Someone offers to give you their own credit report. Don’t accept a credit report that is hand delivered by an applicant because that free credit report is a consumer credit report. That only shows credit card debts and transactions. It does not show evictions, tax liens or other court judgments against a person. Make sure you run your own thorough credit report.
3. Someone offers to pay rent in advance. This usually means the person’s credit is not good.
When you use a property management company to find a tenant, most of the unqualified tenants will screen themselves out of the process. Any time tenants see that a property management company is running an ad, they will avoid it if they have problems with income or credit or they know they won’t get a good landlord reference. They will not bother applying, which will help you keep the process simple. Property managers know how to get to the good tenants a lot quicker.
Finally, use strict criteria when screening because you want a good tenant. If you need any help finding a good tenant, please contact us at Portola Property Management. We’d love to help you.