Do perfect tenants exist? If you define a perfect tenant as someone who follows the rules, pays rent on time, and doesn’t damage your property or cause problems with neighbors, then yes – perfect tenants exist. However, you’ll need to scrutinize your applicants to find them.
To find ideal tenants in Houston, you need to keep eyes open for certain character traits that indicate a person is trustworthy and reliable. Here’s a list of 9 traits to keep on your radar.
Punctuality is something many people struggle with, so a lack of punctuality isn’t necessarily a red flag. However, it’s a great sign when an applicant is punctual.
Punctual people have gotten into the habit of being on time because they respect other people’s time. They also have a strong relationship with their word and will go the extra mile to ensure they arrive on time. For instance, they’ll leave 30 minutes early or rearrange their personal schedule to make sure they aren’t late.
A reliable, punctual applicant will be there when they say they’re going to be there. If they can’t make it on time, they’ll call ahead, which brings up the next point.
A good communicator won’t leave you high and dry, wondering what’s happening. When plans change, they tell you. When issues arise, they talk to you. As a landlord, communication is critical because you want tenants who will tell you when your property needs repairs.
There are several signs you can look for that indicate someone is a good communicator. For example, it’s a good sign when an applicant calls you ahead of time to let you know they’re going to be late and/or asks to reschedule. Rescheduling is inconvenient, but someone who calls ahead is respecting your time when they know they can’t make their appointment.
People with poor communication either don’t show up at all, or they call around the time they’re supposed to be there.
3. Proactive attitude
It’s hard to assess a proactive attitude from a prospective tenant, but if a relevant situation arises, pay attention. For example, if you’re showing a unit to a potential tenant and a light switch cover is loose, a proactive person will point it out to you when they see the problem. Someone who isn’t proactive will notice the problem and say nothing.
You can’t always tell if someone isn’t proactive. Some people just don’t notice things that need attention. However, when a tenant is observant and tells you about small things like a loose light switch cover, it’s a positive sign.
4. Good hygiene
Some people can’t help the way they look or smell. There are legitimate illnesses that cause people to have bad body odor, and being disabled can make it hard for someone to wash themselves.
However, bad hygiene can be a sign of a lazy or indifferent individual. When someone can’t take care of themselves, they probably won’t take good care of your rental property.
A person’s car can tell you a lot about their personality. A cluttered car usually indicates a cluttered, chaotic life. When someone’s car is cluttered, there’s a high probability their home is cluttered, too.
If a potential tenant has papers and items stacked up in their car, including trash, they might be a hoarder. While hoarders are a protected class (hoarding is a recognized mental disorder), you can follow up with other, more qualified applicants first.
6. Personal responsibility
Being late doesn’t have to be a big deal, but your applicants should take full personal responsibility when they’re late. Pay attention to how your applicants handle missed appointments and late arrivals.
Good tenants will say things like:
- I’m sorry
- My apologies
- I apologize
- It’s my fault
- Sorry I’m late
- I know your time is valuable
- Thank you for understanding
- Thank you for your patience
- Thank you for still meeting with me
- Sorry I have to reschedule
- Would you mind rescheduling
- I know it’s inconvenient, but something came up
If an applicant acknowledges their tardiness or absence, that’s a good sign. However, if someone is a no-call, no-show, they’re probably not going to make a good tenant.
Good tenants want to know everything about the property they want to rent. For example, they might ask how far it is to certain shops, how quiet or noisy the neighbors are, and if the cops get called out frequently.
Good tenants are inquisitive because they care about where they live. While they might need a place to live as soon as possible, they don’t usually come off as desperate to land in the first available unit.
Questionable tenants don’t really care much about where they live. They just want to get into a unit fast, often because they’re trying to get in before an eviction or bankruptcy shows up on their credit report.
Be cautious of anyone who appears too eager to rent from you. Eagerness isn’t always a bad thing, but when combined with other red flags, it can be the last reason you need to reject an application.
8. Consistency in action and story
Consistency is an important trait to have in a tenant. Keep your eye out for people who remain consistent in their actions and in the stories they tell. For example, their actions should match their words and the details of their stories should match when sharing those stories at different times.
If an applicant tells you the same story twice but the details differ, that could be a sign of deception. However, not all inconsistencies mean someone is being deceptive.
Sometimes people have several reasons for doing something, and only share one of those reasons each time they share that particular story. However, if you experience this disconnect, use your judgement and pay attention to the context of the claim.
For example, say an applicant tells you they were evicted because their landlord retaliated for requesting a repair. Then, the next time you talk, your applicant tells you they were evicted because their landlord was discriminating against them for being disabled.
This type of inconsistency is a bad sign. Granted, bad landlords often retaliate against tenants in multiple ways, but getting two completely different stories about the underlying reason for their eviction is a red flag.
9. A positive attitude
Great tenants generally have a positive attitude and a positive orientation toward life. They don’t have crazy drama happening with their family and friends. They’re not running from the law or trying to get away from their criminal friends.
Look for people who seem upbeat and smile. Notice how they treat people they pass on the way to and from looking at your unit. Positive people will carry themselves confidently and can’t help being nice to strangers.
Find ideal tenants for your Houston rental property with Green Residential
Finding tenants is easy. Finding great tenants takes hard work. With property management services from Green Residential, you can get great tenants without doing the work.
Instead of trying to do everything yourself, let us help. We’ll take the uncertainty and stress out of finding your next great tenant.
Call us today or request a free rental analysis for your Houston rental property.