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--- news (12/17/2012)
Tips on advertising rentals & selecting tenants for beginner land

I would like to share some tips to address commonly concerned issus such as how to advertise rental properties and selectingon renting properties based on my years of experience. I hope these tips are helpful to new landlords.

1) CL/Craigslist is ok. It's free and effective only highly educated area such as surrounding of universities, high tech concentrated such as SF Bay area.

2) Local newspaper may be effective for some remote area or small town based on the custom & tradition.

3) For the average rental class, they don't go to internet to search.Even though, you may very likely get remote callers who could be either SCAM or speculators. It's small chance to get someone really serious.

4) Rental business is so tangible. People must see in person before they can make a determination. Therefore local advertising and in person service are playing the most important role.

5) You need to put up and maintain for rent signs and directional arrow signs on regular basis in case signs are missing or taken away. This is the most effective way to advertise your property with local traffic.

6) Open house is another option and effective too. However it's so labor intensive. It's hard to so if you have a lot of properties.

On selecting good tenants, I woulld recommend the following process:

1) Phone screen first prior to showing the property. Never show the property without asking questions below to avoid wasting your time.

a) name of the caller and # of people in the family

b) overall income level per monthly

2) Run credit check using which gives you a comprehensive report with combined score and eviction report.

3) Ask applicants to pay for credit report prior to processing an application. It's not about we care about the fee. It's good test if the applicants hide anything from us. In this way, you can screen out some liars very quickly to narrow down the selection.

4) Besides the application, you need to ask the applicants to provide supporting documents

a) Driver license for showing identity and verifying the legal name and DOB

b) SSN card for verifiying SSN#

c) Recent Paystubs or proof of income to verify the income level and source of the income associated with their employer

5) Call previous landlord to verify their rental history. Be aware that you might tricked with this process. Possible reasons are fake landlord/owner or real owner who wants to get rid of this tenant anyway.

6) Give the applicant an approval based on your summary analysis above. The decision is based on your preference and experience. We can further discuss some criteria if anybody is interested.

7) Test applicant's credibility by observing the followings:

a) Do they deliver promise by dates? If they promises that they will provide certain info or making a payment by certain date, you need to verify if they really do so.

b) Do they make a commitment? It's ok if they want to split payment on security deposit and rent. It's important if they can make an immediate commitment to pay for the security deposit to prove they do have some money and are serious about this approval.

c) You should reconsider the application if the tenant delay the commitment after the approval indefinitely. Very likely they over spent already and don't have money even though their income level is sufficient. Don't hesitate to discard this kind of applicants to avoid trouble in future.

8) Ask the tenants to sign up for utility accounts. This action will further prove that they at least have credibility with utility companies.

9) Sign a lease. Don't rent without a lease fully executed

10) Finally you wait for the applicants to pay the final balance if any before handing the keys to the tenants if everything is done above. Never give the keys since tenants beg you and promise that they will "pay the balance by 1st of next month or so". They must fully comply with the requirements above before they can get the key.

11) Last but not the least. Always demand cash deposit prior to move-in. If the transaction is not clear yet. You need to check cash receipt before handing out the keys. If you receive cash in person, be alert if it's fake money. You also need be extremely careful about money orders.

Good luck. Any comments are welcome.

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