When renting to the military community, it is very common practice to screen potential tenants from a distance. The screening process is very important, accepting responsible tenants keeps your property well maintained and your other tenants happy. Screening tenants from a distance, whether you manage your properties from afar or if the tenant is applying from a distance, is made easier with technology such as video conferencing services like Skype, Uber Conference, Google Hangout, etc.
If you can’t meet with the applicant in person, conduct a preliminary phone interview to ask some pre-screening questions. This initial call will help you to determine if a more in-depth video conference meeting is required. During this initial call you want to ask some basic questions, the answers to which can often raise red flags.
- Why are you moving?
- When do you need to move?
- What is your income?
- Can you provide references?
Based on the answers to these questions, you can determine if a second video conference meeting is required.
Once you have pre-screened the applicants, the next step is to conduct a background check. There are several companies that provide background reporting services. Background reports typically provide/verify the following information:
- Credit History
- Credit Score
- Past Evictions
When evaluating the information obtained during the pre-screening process, be sure not to discriminate. If a potential issue surfaces during the pre-screening process, give the applicant an opportunity to explain as there can be circumstances that led to the issue.
At this point you should have your final list of potential tenants. If needed, you can set up a video conference meeting. There are several free video conferencing services available including Skype, UberConference, Google Hangout, etc. Video meetings are an effective way to conduct a virtual face to face meeting. If you conduct this meeting using a mobile device, you can also do a virtual tour of the property.
Having an effective upfront tenant screening process can save headaches and expenses associated with making bad decisions when selecting tenants. Be sure to follow the Fair Housing laws so that you are not discriminating during your screening process.