Investment Property: Advertising our Rental and Screening Tenants

To advertise our new rental property, I've posted an ad on a local news site, craigslist, Zillow and Trulia, all of which were free to use.

I received lots of calls and emails and had about 10 showings before receiving our first and only set of applications.  Luckily they seem to be good candidates.  They submitted there application within a couple hours of seeing the property. 

I used an online screening service called Smart Move.  The tenants had to pay $25 each for the screening and Smart Move ran a credit and criminal history check on both of them.  I also did a search on our county court dockets and was disappointed to find out that Smart Move missed some criminal history.  Nothing major that would rule them out as potential tenants, but disappointing that I can't trust a service that we paid for.  I asked to see pay stubs for one of the tenants since the other is self employed and talked with their current land lord.  Their current landlord of over 7 years said they were great tenants and paid on time.  I also googled their names to see if anything else was out there.  I found some more information that confirmed what I already knew.

On Monday, July 15th, I emailed them and told them I would be happy to rent to them.  They wanted to move in August 1st.  I told them that was fine but I would like a $500 holding fee since I will no longer be advertising and showing the property and holding it for them.  When they move in, the $500 fee would transfer over to be part of their deposit.  I was supposed to have the money this weekend, but they asked if Monday would be okay if they brought the whole deposit and August's rent.  As long as I receive all the money, I'm going to let them have the keys a little early so they can start moving in.

Hopefully they follow through.  Our mortgage and bills will kick in this month so its great that we will have the rental income to cover it and not have to use our own money.  I have still been receiving about 1 - 2 inquiries per day on the property even though I haven't updated any of my ads, so if for some reason these tenants don't come through with the money, I know I should be able to rent it fairly quickly.  But it wouldn't be in time to pay all the August bills.



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