For Fort Worth landlords and investors, a successful rental experience starts with tenant selection.
A good tenant offers you many things, mostly predictability and profit. You’ll earn a reliable rental income every month, your property will increase in value, and your ROI will steadily grow throughout the tenancy. A bad tenant, however, will lead to problems and expenses. Bad tenants come with risks, including the risk that they won’t pay rent. Bad tenants can also cause property damage or lead you towards evictions, which are expensive and time-consuming.
No one can predict with 100 percent accuracy how a tenant will turn out. However, you can protect yourself and your property with a strategic tenant placement process. Many smart landlords focus on screening.
Take your time and put in the work that’s required to find the best tenant in Fort Worth. If you are struggling with time or resources, hand the process over to a professional property manager. A good property manager will lease your home quickly to a well-qualified tenant, saving you stress and time.
Pricing a Fort Worth Rental Property to Attract Good Tenants
How does pricing your investment property impact the type of tenant you place?
Well-qualified tenants have a lot of choices when it comes to where they will live. Landlords love to come across good tenants with a history of paying rent on time, verifiable employment, and excellent landlord references. These tenants aren’t going to be interested in your property if it’s priced too high for the market. They are educated and they know what’s on the market. You can’t chase away the top tier tenants with an inflated price.
Price your home competitively, and you’ll earn more money. How? You’ll avoid long vacancies, expensive evictions, and time-consuming disputes.
Marketing a Rental Property in Fort Worth to Find Great Tenants
Marketing and advertising your rental home the right way will help you find good tenants.
Before you snap some quick photos and post them on Craigslist, think about how your ad and your marketing strategy can help you find the best tenants. Remember who you want to reach: qualified, long-term residents who pay rent on time, follow the terms of your lease, and take care of your home.
Prior to advertising your property, make sure it’s ready for the rental market.
- Take care of all needed repairs and maintenance at the house. Tenants won’t want to see broken appliances, overgrown lawns, and lights that don’t work.
- Make sure the property looks appealing. The walls should have fresh, clean paint in neutral colors. The floors should have clean carpet or tiles and laminate free of scratches and holes. How’s the curb appeal? Stand outside and look at your house through the eyes of a potential tenant.
- Clean the home thoroughly. Call in professionals who can make bathrooms and appliances shine and remove odors.
For Fort Worth landlords, online rental advertising is the best way to reach tenants. Write an ad that reflects all the best things about your property. Mention things that matter to Fort Worth tenants, like large yards, off street parking, updated master bathrooms, fireplaces, and new appliances. If you’re in a great location, be sure to advertise the school district or the proximity to commuter routes and shopping. Include as many high quality pictures as you can.
The best tenants are shopping around on rental sites like Zillow, Trulia, HotPads, Rentals.com, and Rent.com. Tenants who are working with agents will use the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). If you’re working with a property manager, your ad should be prominently featured on their website.
When it comes to rental advertising, there’s still a place for signage – even in this electronic and digital world. An attractive, professional sign at the property is a good way to attract tenants who happen to be walking or driving through the neighborhood. Make sure your contact information is clearly listed on the sign.
Property Showings in Fort Worth: Availability and Communication
There are many different ways to show your property to prospective tenants. Some landlord and property managers want to show the property in person. This is an excellent way to find the best tenants because it enables you to meet face to face with your prospective renters and do a little pre-screening.
Technology can help if you don’t have the time or interest in showing your property in person. There are several different apps and software that allow your tenant to see the property on their own, in private and at any time that works for them. You won’t have the opportunity to meet face to face with your prospect, but a lot of tenants do appreciate this method of seeing a potential home. It’s easier for them, and it may move your process along faster.
Whatever showing method you choose, make sure you’re available and responsive. When you don’t answer emails or follow up with phone calls, you lose potentially great tenants. They aren’t going to wait around to see your property; they’ll simply move onto the next one. Call back the people who leave messages. Respond to their email inquiries.
Property Management Fort Worth: Application Procedures
Provide a written application which will collect any information you need, including names, contact information, social security numbers, current and past addresses, employment information, and landlord references. Ask tenants to list all the people who will occupy the property, and run background checks on anyone 18 years of age or older.
Good tenants will fill out the application completely and quickly. Most of today’s tenants in Fort Worth will expect an online application. Make this process easy for them.
To properly screen tenants, you’ll need documentation such as a copy of their government-issued I.D. and pay stubs or bank and tax statements that verify their income. Allow them to securely upload those documents to you. If you don’t have a system that supports this, consider working with a Fort Worth property management company or a screening company so this entire process is automated for you and your prospective tenant.
When you provide your application to prospective tenants, give them your application criteria as well. Let them know what you’ll be looking for. When you’re clear about the credit and income standards you expect, you’ll eliminate a lot of unqualified tenants right away. It’s best to provide something in writing that details your requirements.
Fort Worth Property Management: Tenant Screening Tips
Tenant screening in Fort Worth will allow you to separate the great tenants from the tenants you’d rather not put in your property. Screen like professional property managers screen. Here’s what to watch:
- Rental history is the best indicator of how tenants will perform in your property. Talk to former and current landlords (and make sure you’re talking to actual landlords; not family members and friends). Ask about whether the tenant paid rent on time, took care of the property, gave proper notice, or violated the lease terms. Ask if they would rent to this tenant again.
- Credit checks are important in looking at financial stability. You don’t need a tenant with perfect credit. But, you do need a tenant without prior evictions or any landlord debt. Look for unpaid or overdue utility payments and avoid any tenants who are currently in bankruptcy or looking like they might be about to declare bankruptcy. A lot of debt indicates that rent will be hard to pay.
- Criminal background checks in context. The best tenants usually aren’t felons. Speeding tickets from 20 years ago are no big deal, but you don’t want anyone with a history of drug charges or convictions for violent crimes.
- Employment and income that’s stable and verifiable. Look for a stable employment history and an income that’s at least three time the amount of rent.
Go further than the tenant’s credit score. You’re looking for more than that. You want a good tenant, so, take the time to do a proper screening. Dig into the application and make sure you have an idea of who is going to live in your home.
Fort Worth Fair Housing Laws
As you look for the best tenants, remember to follow all state, local, and federal fair housing laws. We’ve never met a landlord who intentionally discriminated against someone, but mistakes can easily be made, and those mistakes will be expensive.
Make sure you know the fair housing laws and how to follow them. It’s also important to keep up with any changes in local and federal laws. They change all the time. For example, disparate impact is a term you might not be familiar with, but it needs to be part of your screening process. It has become a big part of how you look at criminal backgrounds. If you’re not sure how to handle these laws, make sure you’re talking to a property manager in Fort Worth. Fair housing lawsuits are expensive, and the fines can be outrageous. You don’t want to make any mistakes in this area.
The best tenant is easy to identify, but often hard to find.
When you need help finding tenants, please contact us at Specialized Property Management. We would be happy to help you with all of your Fort Worth property management needs.