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First Time Owner - How Does Tenant Screening Even Work?

Daniel LiAuthor Image
Written by
Daniel Li
Daniel Li
May 5, 2023

As you get ready to rent out a property you own for the first time, picking the right tenant is certain to be the scariest part of the process. This is something you simply don’t want to get wrong, as a great tenant can make your life so much easier - and a bad tenant can do just the opposite. 

This is why the tenant screening process is something that every owner should learn and understand. When tenants are properly screened, the chances of you as the owner running into problems later on goes down dramatically. No process is perfect, of course, but thorough screening should be seen as a foundational step on the way toward signing a lease. 

To help you get started, this article is going to introduce the basics of the tenant screening process. While there is some variation in the process from one owner to the next depending on the type of property they are renting, the location, and other factors, these fundamentals will put you on the right track. 

What’s the Goal?

Knowing what you are trying to accomplish with tenant screening is the right place to start as a first-time owner. When a tenant reaches out with interest in renting your property, they will naturally present themselves as a good choice. But that’s not always going to be the case. Tenant screening is a formal process that allows you to consider several factors before picking the best fit. 

Among the many different things you’d like to know about potential tenants, the points below are near the top of the list -

Collecting Data Points

Since simply asking someone about their qualifications as a renter isn’t the best way to get at the truth, you’ll want to use a formal process that enables you to pick up a few different points of data on each applicant. That way, you’ll have objective measures to use, and you’ll be more likely to make a sound decision. 

To get this data, you’ll need to have potential renters fill out an application, through which will get permission to gather the information you need. It’s important to remember that there are certain classes that you are not allowed to use in your screening process, including race, color, religion, and gender, so be sure that no part of your application process is going to give priority to people based on any of those protected factors. 

Three of the most important pieces of information to review as part of the tenant screening process are the following -

Also, an application gives you the chance to collect references for the applicant, and you can then call those references to get more information about each person. The combination of a clean background check, a strong credit rating, and impressive references will give you confidence that the applicant in question is one worth careful consideration. 

A Helpful Step

Depending on the type of property that you are trying to rent out, you might find that you get a lot of applications each time you put it up on the market. And, if you have a growing portfolio of properties to rent, this process can quickly get out of hand. 

To help cut down on how many applications pile up at your doorstep, consider using a pre-screening strategy to eliminate some of the submissions that don’t have a chance to be accepted anyway. Not only is this helpful on your end, but you’ll be doing interested parties a favor - they won’t waste their time on an application that isn’t going to go through. 

Pre-screening doesn’t even have to be an active process. You can simply include in your listing some of the qualifications that you are going to require in order for a tenant to be considered. Specifically, including a minimum income level threshold is a good way to save time on getting applicants without the necessary earnings to qualify for this particular rental. 

Put Marble in the Driver’s Seat

There is an alternative available to going through the tenant screening process yourself, and that is to turn this task - and the rest of the management duties - over to Marble. As a virtual property manager, Marble can take care of the screening process for you, in addition to listing the property and getting the lease signed. Once a tenant has moved in, things like collecting rent and dispatching maintenance are handled automatically, as well. 

With so many services provided all for a single, low monthly fee, Marble is a no-brainer for the first-time rental property owner. See what we offer by starting your free trial or contact our team to get more information. Thank you for considering Marble!

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