Checking credit for potential tenants - Posted by Vena

Posted by Sailor on May 03, 2006 at 18:39:49:

I charge $20 for a single, $30 per couple. Run the reports through–quick & easy. Note that your applicants w/probably all have b-a-d credit. Learn what isn’t important (e.g., medical collections), & what is likely to indicate a bad tenant prognosis (e.g.,utility collections; dumb stuff like video stores). I get a co-signing parent or two for 20-somethings. The folks are usually happy to sign to keep the kid from moving back in w/boyfriend + kids. In addition to credit reports I also try to talk to current/recent landlords. Sometimes I have to do a bit of sleuthing to find them, but it is always informative–


Checking credit for potential tenants - Posted by Vena

Posted by Vena on May 03, 2006 at 17:21:53:

Hi everyone,

I am fairly new at this and learning and so I did not check credit for my last tenant. She recently left (nonpayment of rent) and I am holding an open house on Saturday and Sunday.
I advertised in the paper as potential rent to own.

I want potential tenants to “apply” this time.
How do I go about checking their credit? Who can I get to do this? The online sites for credit normally make you verify a debt that’s on your credit report.
Also, is it okay for me to charge an application fee? If so, how much?
Thanks and have a blessed evening.


Re: Checking credit for potential tenants - Posted by Frank Chin

Posted by Frank Chin on May 04, 2006 at 09:03:24:


Besides Mr. You can check around for “Tenant Screening Services” in your area, and for a package deal they can do one or a combination of:

-Credit Check (need ss#, current and prior zip codes)
-Bad checks (need appliacants license)
-Employment verification

Many owners charge applicants to do Credit Checks but I don’t because it’ll slow me down, and get me into arguments.

I typically get over 80- 100 calls over a weekend open house, where 30 to 40 will actually show up, and I get about 10 to 12 applications, and I tell them I get to work on it this coming Monday.

If I don’t get near 10 applications, I hold it over for another week.

Anyway, I’m not going to collect application fees for all 10 applicants, and then mail it back, and go into why I took his application, fee, and decided to process somebody else’s application. People seem to feel thay if they paid anything, no matter what you call it, they GOT the place.

But if I don’t get the fee with the application, but after call the applicant to get the fee when I decide on which one, and then run the credit checks, I’ll have to get hold of my first applicant Monday morning, and usually he’s at work, wait for him to get off work, show up Monday night, run the report Tuesday morning. And if I find out he’s not good, get hold of the next guy, meet him Tuesday night to get the fee etc. Often, the first TWO applicants bomb out after I run the check.

SO checking out three guys could take a whole week.

The way I do it is I tell them to give me a number where I can get hold of them Monday morning. I call and ask each one: “if you are still interested, I’ll run the credit check right NOW”, and I go ahead and do it. If he bombs out, I do the second guy, and then the next guy. I check out all the people I need to check Monday morning.

By early Monday afternoon, I tell the applicant who’s approved to come by Wednesday, bring the cash or money order for the security and sign the lease.

What’s the advantage of doing it this way??

I can have the prior tenant move out on the last day of the prior month, show the place immediately that weekend, sometimes saying the place will be painted in a few days (I prefer to paint and clean first), and have it rented out by the 15th of THAT month, losing only two weeks rent.

If I let thing drags, get my $20.00 fee, I’ll wind up losing a week or two, deciding much later in the month, and then hear the new tenant tell me he has yet to give his landlord 30 days notice, and I have to wait YET ANOTHER month.

For me, I rather LOSE maybe $60.00 that I could’ve collected on three applicantion fees since I average running 3 credit checks each time I re-rent. But by speeding things up, I collect 45 days MORE RENT. With SFH rents running $2,200/month here, it’s definitely worth it for me.

And sometimes, waiving the fee is the deciding factor for a tenant, and I’ve heard, “you must be a real nice guy and a gentlemen” as everyone else had their grubby hands out for the application fee, and on top of which, the other place looked terrible.

I give them this “AW come on”, looking sheepish, and say, “I’m only looking for the absolute best tenant, and I’m not looking to make BIG BUCKS on you”.

At least it works for me.

Frank Chin