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Multifamily Trend | Selecting Better Tenants Through Artful Interviews

Multifamily Trend | Selecting Better Tenants Through Artful Interviews

Multifamily Trend | Selecting Better Tenants Through Artful Interviews

A lease is a relationship. The tenant interview is the first date. There is a great deal more than credit reports and references involved in determining who will be a great tenant and who will bring you nothing but headaches. Actually, interviewing is both a art form and a science. Based on hard experience, here are some concerns you need to think about to make the most reasonable and profitable decisions for the health of your entire complex.

Check your assumptions

First of all, you need to rid yourself of some old world thinking. The rental market has moved from a world of price to a world of value. The best renters are no longer looking for the most square footage at the lowest rent in the best location. New renters want a home that takes care of their deepest needs like Wi-Fi, pet grooming and built in iPhone docks. Take a look at our review of the trends in amenities that will be considered standard in a few years.

Second of all, take your time. Good credit and solid references are merely the beginning. Invest your time and effort in the screening process and you will be rewarded in lower turnover and fewer problems on site. Due to the impact of screening on costs, it should be treated as a revenue driver just as much as promotions and property improvements.

Third, realize that the application interview is a late stage in the sales process, not part of administration. They are still prospects, not tenants yet. This means that they may not be sold on the property yet and there are still plenty of chances for the competition to woo away your best tenants. Use the interview to find out what matters to them and make the kind of impression that they will brag about to their friends.

The art of listening

The application interview is a conversation not an interrogation. Listen carefully for red flags and issues that matter most to your prospective tenants. Are there inconsistencies in their stories? Many troublesome tenants can’t help lying straight off in an attempt to make themselves look better. What kind of questions are they asking? No questions at all often means that they are desperate and hoping you approve them before you find out why they had to move out of their last apartment. Do they travel a great deal for work? Security will be an issue. Are they new in town or newly single? Those tenants are looking for a quite different living experience than many seniors and families. Make sure your tenants have found the right fit for the kind of life they want. You’ll be helping yourself and them in the long run.

The worst case scenario

Most new property owners fear eviction proceedings as the worst case scenario. Experienced owners quickly come to realize that there is something worse — a tenant that follows the rules by the letter, but is so disruptive that they drive away your best tenants. It’s not possible to fire these tenants, so you have to learn to deal with them, but that’s a matter for another blog.


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