Getting a good feel for the best fit tenant for your rentals takes time to master. There are often considerations such as safety concerns, duration of tenancy potential renters are willing to agree to and a host of other factors that will guide your decision process. My number one rule of thumb in choosing the best renter for a unit is, give the process plenty of time and due diligence. Rushing the interview process and not covering all aspects of your background checks can leave you with a renter that is difficult to deal with at best or a nightmare tenant at worst. Having gone through the process countless times over the years, I consider myself a seasoned pro in the process and will share a few real world scenarios I have experienced in this and future blog posts.
I just finished renting a Vermont 3 bedroom second floor unit to a single female and her young son. I interviewed for about 3 months, which was excessive due to a bad vacancy window, (previous tenants moved out mid-winter). I didn’t completely mind the delay as I was able to perform some upkeep projects at a fairly leisurely pace. I rejected more than 15 candidates mostly based on limited income or their preference for a short term lease. The final 2 candidates where the above mentioned and a single male with an impressive salary, a professional vocation and a solid background check. The single male by virtue of better income then the female applicant would have been my first choice, but I had one sticking point to offset my typical decision process. The house was on the market and if possible I would leave it on the market while the property was fully rented.
The male candidate would probably not have rented given the on market status of the property, while the female was very eager to move in ASAP. Taking a deep breath I had a phone conversation explaining the need for the property to continue being on the for sale listing. The female agreed to sign the contract with full knowledge of this and is currently renting the unit. I would have preferred someone with more income, she barely met my 1/3 income goes to rent rule, but if the property is sold in the near future, my concerns will simply disappear. Time will tell if this arrangement will work out for me but being upfront about my needs and providing her with a very nice rental, can go a long way in satisfying both the landlord and the renter.