Your ability to attract great tenants in Houston begins with how well you write your rental listings. A clear, direct, and detailed listing is the best way to attract your ideal tenant. However, there is an art to writing rental listings that attract great tenants over tenants who will take anything they can get.
Ultimately, good tenants want a long-term home they can enjoy for years to come. Good tenants take good care of their homes because they plan on being there as long as possible.
What elements make a good rental listing?
There are several key elements that make a good rental listing:
- Professional photos of the property, inside and out
- The monthly rent
- Disclosure of all required fees and deposits
- Your pet policy
- If the unit is wheelchair accessible or has any accessible features
- For apartments, if laundry is available onsite
- Features that make the property special or unique
While these elements make your rental listing clear, there’s no guarantee you’ll attract reliable tenants.
Use your rental listing to disqualify certain categories of unwanted tenants
To attract reliable tenants, you need to include elements in your listing that disqualify bad tenants. These elements include:
- Credit score requirements
- No recent bankruptcies on your credit report
- No evictions on your credit report
- Three rental references if possible
- Three personal references
- Proof of income
- No felonies
- No drug or theft-related misdemeanors
Adding these elements to your listing will discourage some, but not all, bad tenants from applying. For instance, someone with a felony assault on their record might love your listing, but when they read your policy about felonies, they won’t apply.
Some bad tenants will slip through the cracks, but it will be far less than if you don’t attempt to deter them.
Once you have a great listing, you’ll need a strategy to filter applicants. To filter applicants, it’s critical to know what signs indicate you’re dealing with a bad tenant.
Five signs an applicant might be a bad tenant
1. Inability to pay the security deposit in full
Good tenants won’t have a problem paying your security deposit in full. Good tenants tend to have a reliable source of income, and they’re smart with their money. They won’t need to wait for their next paycheck to drop your deposit – they’ll just take it out of their savings account.
Bad tenants often ask to pay the security deposit in installments and they may even ask you to waive your move-in fee. Sometimes good tenants are between paychecks and genuinely need to pay in chunks. However, it’s still a bad sign when a tenant doesn’t have enough savings to cover the deposit.
Someone who doesn’t have, say, $500 – $1,000 to give you all at once for a security deposit will probably be late with the rent if they experience any disruption to their income.
2. Eagerness to move in without an interest in the property
Bad tenants tend to jump at the first opportunity they find, and aren’t that interested in anything other than moving in as quickly as possible. If you notice an applicant who isn’t interested in the details of your property, and they seem too eager to move in, you may want to consider another applicant.
Good tenants will be actively interested in the property
Good tenants are usually interested in details like the backyard, onsite storage, the size of bedroom closets, and the appliances. They might even express their ideas for how they’ll use each room.
Good tenants will spend time analyzing certain details like the color of the carpet and walls, the wood trim around the windows, and overhead light fixtures.
3. Frequent moves
While some people end up moving frequently by no fault of their own, it’s impossible to know the truth about a person’s story. Even when someone has a legitimate reason for moving five times in two years, that pattern might affect you. For example, if someone has to move each time they get promoted at work, you can expect them to move with their next promotion.
Reliability isn’t just about getting paid. Not all tenants who move frequently will stiff you for rent. However, if your tenant moves in six months, you’ll have to find yet another tenant to rent the unit.
4. They don’t ask any questions
When an applicant doesn’t have any questions for you, that could be a bad sign. Not having any questions might be a form of eagerness to move in as fast as possible. It could also be a sign that they’re not really interested in your property as anything more than a place to land.
On the other hand, be aware of applicants who ask questions that can be considered red flags. For instance, if an applicant asks how often the police come around, they might be looking for signs that they can conduct illegal activity on the premises. They could be asking for safety reasons, however, so make sure to listen for the context of their concern.
If you have any doubts about an applicant, skip them and move to the next applicant.
5. Their car is a mess
You can tell a lot about a person by checking out the inside of their car. Messy cars tend to indicate that a person is disorganized. However, there are degrees.
For example, someone who has a fast food bag in their car and an empty coffee cup probably ate a snack while driving. Most likely, that person will throw their trash away when they get home. On the other hand, someone with personal items stacked to the ceiling in the back seat might indicate they’re a hoarder.
Don’t want to screen tenants for your Houston rental property? Green Residential can help!
Screening tenants is necessary, but it’s also hard work. If you don’t have the desire or the time to screen tenants for your rental property in Houston, our property management services can help.
Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you find great, long-term tenants who will take care of your property. When you work with us, we’ll take great care of your tenants and your property.