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Renter Screening Still Matters! | Plano Property Management Tips

Despite these uncertain times, one thing seems to be improving: the rental market. Apartment-related searches are on the rise, according to Google Trends.

Some renters who may have been apprehensive are jumping back into the market. With this fresh surge in interest, the good news is, it may be easier for investors to find new residents for their Plano rental properties. The not-so-great news is that some prospects may look good from afar—but be far from good.

To minimize the chances of getting the wrong renters, it’s important to properly screen all applicants—perhaps even more so during tough times. From our perspective, as the best-of-the-best in Plano property management, here are some things to keep in mind as you vet potential renters.

Please note: This article is not legal counsel! When you need real-time assistance, reach out to RentHub Property Management or a skilled attorney.

Resist the Temptation to Rent Without Checking

During tough times, it’s natural to want to fill your units as quickly as possible. However, a knee-jerk reaction to what seems to be an excellent renter could be a costly mistake.

In addition to the stress involved in trying to collect payments and handle a steady onslaught of issues, you may endanger your property, waste money on repairs, or be forced to invest time and funds on the eviction process. The best way to save yourself the extra cost and frustration is to get professional help.

Protect Your Property and Screen Safely

Effective screening and renter placement are best achieved with the help of a skilled Plano property management team on your side. In addition to saving time and energy, when you hire a property manager, you have the peace of mind that they know the questions to ask and how to interpret the answers.

By helping you select the best renters, a property management company also helps protect your investment. They know how to spot a potential resident with tendencies that could signal a threat to the condition of your property. With professional help, you can rest easier, knowing you have someone to keep your property in tip-top shape.

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Things to Look for If You DIY

While we don't recommend this route at all—and it’s impossible to predict what a renter might do—there are some telltale signs that should raise red flags for you or, preferably, your third-party screening partner. As Plano property management, here are some of the most crucial things we investigate while screening potential renters.

Upfront Cash

  • Money talks, and it’s usually good to listen—but sometimes, you should take the message as a warning.
  • Someone presenting cash upfront may hope you agree to rent to them quickly and without doing a thorough check. They may reason you won’t find something you’re not looking for.

Always vet a potential renter—even if money’s already on the table.

Opportunistic Scam Artists

During tough times, scam artists may seek to capitalize on the panic. They assume investors are more desperate for renters and may be willing to forego a proper screening to fill a unit faster. Even if you find yourself in dire need of a new resident, remember to go through all the screening steps you would if everything was normal.

How Property Managers Handle Rental Screenings

A professional Plano property management team knows not only the right questions but what the best answers look like—and how to spot danger. Here’s a sample of what goes into a property manager’s screening process:

  • Prior credit inquiries: Several inquiries in a short period may mean the applicant has been denied many times.
  • Personal identification information: Property managers investigate vital information like an applicant’s Social Security number, driver’s license, and date of birth.
  • Social Security fraud search: If someone has “borrowed” a Social Security number in the past, it may show up in accessible records.
  • Credit score: Applicants with higher credit scores tend to be better at managing their financial obligations.
  • Credit summary and history: A thorough credit profile may reveal troublesome signs. Some of these include:
    • Currently delinquent accounts
    • Previously delinquent accounts
    • Accounts that are in the collections process
    • Specific accounts that have been 30, 60, or 90 days late.
Writing note showing Credit Report. Business photo showcasing Borrowing Rap Sheet Bill and Dues Payment Score Debt History Keyboard blue key Intention computer computing reflection document
  • Public records: A slew of information may show up in a public records search, including lawsuits, court records, and criminal convictions. Keep in mind; you must be careful what you do with some of this information to avoid discrimination.
  • Broken leases: A broken lease is a big red flag. This may indicate a tendency to move around sporadically without fulfilling financial obligations first.
  • Sex Offender Registry check: Even if you're not bothered by it, a sex offender may make other renters or neighbors uncomfortable, and may also be barred from your property if it's within a certain distance to schools.
  • National Criminal Alias search: Criminals often use the same aliases or initials. A national alias search may reveal you’ve been given a fake name.
  • National eviction lookup: Everything from court filings to monetary judgments can pop up in a national eviction records search.
  • Previous landlord verification: It can be a lot of work to track down a previous landlord, but professional property managers know how to get the info you need.
  • Employment verification: Anyone can claim they have a particular job. Employment verification helps ensure a potential renter’s job is as good as they say it is.
  • Pet screening: If you allow pets, you will want only healthy, well-cared-for, and tame pets living on the property.

You can also reach out to the experts here at RentHub if there’s anything else you're wondering should be included in the screening process! We can help you figure out the questions you need answered to feel as comfortable as possible with a potential renter.

Finding the right renter also makes it easier to continue seeing returns from your investment property—including timely rent payments! When you fail to screen successfully, you may end up with a renter who decides to "forego" their rent for a little while. Learn more about we can do for you in this situation—and how to help yourself if you choose to DIY—by downloading our Collecting Rent in a Crisis Handbook!

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