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Our Raleigh Property Manager Shares 4 Key Questions to Ask in a Tenant Screening Interview

Almost all investment properties include a criminal background check, credit card check, landlord reference check, proof of employment, and eviction report in their tenant screening process—and these are all musts for you, as well. By asking just a few simple questions, you can separate the wheat from the chaff and only allow qualified renters to sign a lease. Below are key questions to ask when screening tenants for your Cary investment property.

  1. What date would you like to move in?

This is one of the best preliminary tenant screening questions, because it quickly establishes whether or not you and your applicant will be the right fit for each other. Perhaps you have a vacancy that needs to be filled immediately, but your potential tenant can’t move in for another month or so. Or, perhaps the applicant is looking for somewhere to live immediately. It you determine up-front that your property won’t work out for each other’s timeline, you’ll save yourself significant time and hassle.

  1. How long have you lived in your current home?

It’s smart to ask potential renters about the duration of their past and current residencies. If they seem to lack stability, hopping around from property to property, chances are that they’re likely to do the same to you, leaving you with a vacancy to fill. Keep in mind, though, that this behavior is more typical for recent graduates and young professionals, so it is not always necessarily a red flag.

  1. Why are you moving?

This simple, yet mighty question could help to reveal a tenant’s past issues which they will bring to the new property. Ask tenants what bothered them about their previous living situation, and note how they communicate their frustration. If your very first interaction with a potential tenant leaves you wanting to pull out your hair, just imagine what it will be like when they have a legal right to the property! It might be better to save yourself the headache, and move on.

  1. Are you a pet owner?

This isn’t so much a question you should ask the tenant, as much as a question you should try to answer for yourself through observation. Many pet owners do not give an honest answer when asked this question, because they do not want to incur the additional fees. However, you could use context clues to suss out more information. You may be able to observe cat or dog hair clinging to their clothing, for instance. This is why we highly recommend interviewing prospects in person, not over the phone.

Make Property Investment Easy with Barker Realty Property Management

While credit reports, background checks, and reference checks are indispensable parts of the tenant screening process, nothing compares to the “gut feeling” a seasoned property manager has when speaking to a prospect. With over 30 years in the Raleigh property management arena, we know what makes a good tenant and what makes a bad one—and we’re happy to pass our expertise onto you!

If you need help screening tenants or any other aspect of investment property management in Cary or Raleigh, call Barker Realty today. We can’t wait to help you find and manage the Raleigh investment property of your dreams!

"Let each of you look not only to his own interests,

but also to the interests of others..."

Phil. 2:4