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By Photos public domain [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Choosing to rent out your property, whether it is your previous home or an investment can be a little nerve-racking. Once you receive an application how do you know the potential tenants will care for your property as well as you would? The truth is you probably will never know and in many cases they won’t.

The application process is your best opportunity to determine if they will respect the agreement to your satisfaction. When you receive an application review it carefully for any red flags and feel free to ask about any you find. Sometimes there is a good explanation for a ding on the credit report that can be settled with additional documentation.

The following guidelines will help you determine the strength of an application:

  1. Verify rental history by calling the current and previous landlords for reference. Feel free to search back as far as five addresses, you may learn a lot from earlier landlords. They can advise on the reliability of the tenant.
  2. Call the applicant’s employer to confirm that the applicant is currently employed and ask how long the applicant has worked at the company. This should give you a sense of how stable the income is.
  3. Look at recent pay stubs or bank statements to verify income and make sure you believe the applicant will be able to afford your rent.
  4. Run a credit check to assure the applicant has a responsible track record. Bills in collection, bankruptcy, and repossessions are possible red flags to watch out for. Ask about any red flags, there could be a good explanation.
  5. Run a background check for criminal history. If the applicant has lived in other states it might be worthwhile to run a National Criminal Report, rather than a state report.

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