Tenant Screening Process – the 4 questions you should ask every applicant!

May 7, 2021

Are you looking for ways to streamline the application process?  If you are a busy landlord, here are some of my quick ways to streamline, and weed out applicants that aren't going to be a good fit for your property. After this initial screening, then you can start verifying all of the applicant information, but to get started ask these 4 Questions.  These 4 questions can save you time, money and help you streamline your application process.

  1. What is the applicant’s move in date?

If your property is vacant now, you don’t want an applicant that is not ready to move for another 30-60 days, you are looking for someone to get into that vacant property as soon as you can get them approved.  On the other hand, if you had a tenant give notice, and you know you are having a vacancy in 30-60 days, you can get ahead of the game by working with those applicants who meet your desired date to fill your vacancy.

  1. How many people will be living in the  property?  

Note, I did not say, are you a married couple, you want to follow all the federal housing guidelines. So just find out how many people. And believe me, they will just tell you.

  1. What is the annual income of the people     living in the property?  

Again, you're trying to just do some screening, you're going to verify all of this information if they make an application to your property. This question also leads to the discussion of your income qualifications of 3 times the gross monthly rent.  If they don’t have enough income, then you have just saved them and you time and money – as you would not take an application fee if they don’t have enough income to afford the rent on the property.

  1. Are there any pets, if so, how many,     breed, age, and weight?  

I am not talking about service or emotional support dogs here ,that is another topic for another day. But you need to find out if applicant has any breed of dog that have been deemed an aggressive breed - not that you don’t love a large German Shepherd, but your insurance company may have something to say about an owner renting to someone with a breed the insurance company has categorized as aggressive.  In different states insurance companies may differ, so just check with your insurance company about any breeds they may have restrictions on.  Because you want to know upfront what kind of animal might be living in your property.

PRO TIP:  A real time saver for me.  Spending around $3.95 for a date stamp you can pick up at any office supply store.      I use this to date stamp every single piece of documentation, including the application, when I'm receiving multiple applications.

Why? This helps me to determine which applicant came in which order. And if you have a multiple applicant situation and one applicant gets in all their information, as far as their income and any proof of documentation they're asking for, and another applicant makes an application, but they don't provide the income verification you're looking for, then you are rest assured because you've date stamped when you got all the information.

I hope these tips are helpful to you for streamlining your application process.   If you want to learn more, check out the link below to my online Property Management Master Class that gives you all and everything you would need to manage your own rental properties.

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Link to my online Property Management Master Class:   https://courses.nancywallacelaabs.com/courses/property-management-master-class

Check out the video: https://youtu.be/hcs9Ypod3hk