I did something a little gutsy this week. I decided to do a Facebook live video were I walked the viewers through a house we had just gotten back from some vacating tenants. What made this move gutsy was the fact that I had no idea what the condition of the property would be. I just turned the camera on, unlocked the door and began filming.
The house was immaculate!
So, I said I didn’t know what condition the property would be in, but that’s not entirely true. You see, we get most of our properties back in great condition, so I had a pretty good idea it would be OK. Our properties stay in good condition because we spend a lot of time making sure the tenants we “hire” can do the four jobs of a tenant. Those are:
- Take care of, maintain and improve the property. 2. Pay on time. (Notice that taking care of the property comes before paying on time.) 3. Be a good neighbor. And 4. Be comfortable to work with by being respectful and staying in good communication.
Landlords tend to be very concerned with a tenant’s ability to pay on time. As a matter of fact, that seems to be the driving force in their tenant screening processes. Their rental applications are geared toward how long potential tenants have been on the job, how much they make and what kind of rental history they have.
Our application does the same thing, but with a twist. You see, I really want to make sure the applicant we choose can take care of the house, not just pay on time. Think about this: it’s far less expensive to file dispossessory for nonpayment than it is to fix a house that’s been damaged by someone who paid on time.
With that fact in mind, we ask our applicants things like what home repair skills they have and tools they possess. That’s because we want people who can take care of the property.
After we determine on paper that they can pay on time and take care of the house, we conduct the in-home interview — the most important step in the tenant screening process.
At the in-home, you learn how the applicants act in their own environment. You get to see how the kids treat mom and dad and vice versa, as well as how the children are taught to respect the house.
I love kids. I have two under the age of six. And families make some of the best tenants. But kids, when not properly trained, can be more destructive to a house than a pet. So, if I get to a house that has a destructive child, you’d better believe those folks will not be living in our house.
Speaking of pets, you are there to interview them too. Last week I did an in-home with a couple who had a lab-pit mix. Our company is pet friendly, and I love dogs. I understand an animal’s disposition depends more on how it is raised than its breed, but we don’t allow animals considered “attack breeds” in our properties.
There was nothing lab-like about this dog. It was a brindle-colored pitbull.
The owners kept this animal inside. It was clean with a good disposition, but it was full of pent-up energy. I don’t think this dog would attack someone. Rather, I theorized that it could get excited during a visit from the neighbors’ kid, jump up in the air, do an unintentional belly flop on the kid and harm him that way. Needless to say, the in-home let me know that these folks would not get the house.
In-home interviews reveal all kinds of things — especially how an applicant takes care of the property. Because of that fact, this step is the key to getting great tenants who take care of your property and leave it in excellent condition once they leave.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.