How to find renters

Are you a landlord struggling to find reliable tenants for your rental properties? Don’t worry, we understand the challenges you face. Finding tenants quickly not only reduces the time your property sits vacant but also maximizes your income. What matters even more, though, is finding tenants who pay on time, adhere to the lease requirements, and take good care of your property.

Leasing to unqualified tenants can lead to numerous problems, including difficulties with rent payments and property maintenance. In the worst-case scenario, you may have to pursue eviction, which can take an average of 3-4 weeks and cost around $3,500. Clearly, avoiding this situation altogether is crucial.

That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you attract potential tenants and identify the best candidates for your property. We’ll cover everything from maintaining your rental at the right price to effective advertising and proper tenant screening techniques. With our advice, you can find reliable tenants and ensure a successful rental experience.

Table Of Contents For Finding Rental Tenants

Finding tenants involves having an appropriate property, effective advertising, and smart screening to identify tenants who are a good fit for your rental.

Have A Great Property At The Right Price

Have A Great Property At The Right Price

According to Reddit users responding to the question of what they look for in a landlord, the most important thing to most renters is a property in good condition that meets their requirements at a good price for the area.

A property in good condition is not only more attractive to renters, but it also signals both the level of care for the property that is expected from them, and that you as a landlord prioritize keeping the property in good condition and are likely to respond quickly to any maintenance requests.

If any work is needed on the property, such as cracks in the wall or broken windows, now is a good time to make those repairs. If the previous tenant has vacated the property, you could also use this as an opportunity for  significant cosmetic work, such as repainting or paying for a deep clean.

If the tenants are still in the property, it can be useful to ask them to declutter, since open spaces tend to make rooms more attractive. They may be willing and able to do this if they are in the process of packing for the move anyway.

Tricks such as hanging mirrors, installing brighter lighting, and other aspects of staging a rental property can also improve the appeal to potential tenants.

Make sure that you research how much similar properties in the area are renting for. Potential tenants are probably looking at several properties and comparing yours to others. While you want to set a price that reflects the value of the property, you don’t want to price yourself out of the market.

There can be an “us and them” mentality when it comes to renters and landlords. Some renters can get upset when it feels like landlords are pricing properties in a way that takes advantage of their tenants. Excessively high pricing can lead to confrontation with potential tenants.

Advertise Effectively

Effective advertising is key to making sure potential renters are aware that your property is available. Make sure you include all the essential information that is most likely to make the property attractive to tenants such as security features, parking spaces, outdoor spaces, included appliances, and any recent upgrades or renovations.

Also include information that will screen out nonviable tenants, such as the monthly rent, security deposit requirements, and any other fees associated with moving into the property.

It’s then a matter of choosing which channels to use to advertise. Consider the following options.

Property Managers

While there are costs associated with working with a property manager, a good property manager who knows the local market will be able to help you set your rental at the right price, and they may already have a waiting list of good clients looking for appropriate rental properties in the area.

Experienced property managers will also know how to show off the best assets of the property. They will have experience identifying red flags when meeting tenants, which could save you some headaches.

Online Advertising

These days, almost everyone takes to the Internet when searching for anything. This means that advertising online is not only effective but also essential. Some of the most popular sites for the US property market include:

It’s also worth sharing the property on social media, both via your business account and paid advertising that targets people who live or work in the area.

Social media also gives you the opportunity to invite existing or previous tenants to leave comments about their positive experience with you as a landlord. This kind of word of mouth is the most effective method for building trust.

For-Rent Signs

Consider putting up for-rent signs on the property itself. Many people looking for rentals already live or work in the local area, and certainly drive through the area to research things such as schools and shops. Put your phone number on the sign so they can contact you directly. Just make sure these kinds of signs are allowed in your area.

Newspaper Advertising

While most people get their news online these days, there are some communities where the local newspaper or bulletin plays an important role. If your property is located within one of these communities, it’s worth paying for a print listing. Just ensure that you print on the day with the highest circulation, such as the Sunday morning edition.

Open House

It’s common to hold open house days when selling a property, but they are also becoming popular with rental properties.

In a competitive market where being the first to see a property can make a big difference, renters can appreciate the even playing field, and it lets you show the property to several prospective tenants in a short period of time. It’s also an opportunity to meet the tenants for initial screening.

Virtual Tours

Seeing a property makes a huge difference when it comes to potential tenants deciding that they are interested and to book a viewing or make an application. Virtual tours can help them make that leap.

According to a recent survey, nearly one-third of renters in 2021 said that virtual tours are very or extremely important when deciding which home to rent.

Be An Appealing Landlord

Be An Appealing Landlord

While the property and the price are the most important factors for most renters, they will also be assessing you as a landlord. Your interactions with the potential tenants can make or break closing the deal.

According to Reddit users, the promptness, quality, and transparency of communication with the landlord during the negotiation process is extremely important in deciding whether you will be a good landlord.

The details of the rental contract also matter. Tenants often say they review contracts in detail for contradictions and harsh clauses that place excessive responsibility on the tenant. Contracts that are thorough but easy to read and consistent in their clauses can give the tenant the confidence they need to sign the lease.

Screen Potential Tenants

While you want to find new tenants for your property quickly, finding the right tenants matters — a  lot. You want tenants who will pay their rent on time, treat your property and their neighbors with respect, and will abide by the conditions of the contract. This requires screening potential tenants before entering into an agreement with them.

According to a survey conducted by SmartMove, the top concerns that landlords have about new tenants are that they will have problems paying their rent, that they will break the conditions of the contract and require eviction, that they move frequently from one rental to another, or that they are high maintenance when it comes to their demands from their landlord.

Tenant screening services like RentPrep provide information that can help landlords address most of these concerns. You get a full credit report to show whether the potential tenant pays their bills, and you can get an income verification for a small additional fee.

The screening also provides address and nationwide eviction history so you can see whether a potential tenant has previously been evicted and why, and how often they tend to move. The screening also provides a nationwide criminal and sex offender search and information on bankruptcies.

You can check out our screening packages available from RentPret here.

Asking previous landlords for references is also important. This can throw up red flags that aren’t obvious on paper — for example, if the applicant was known to be rude to their neighbors or were “high maintenance” when it came to property management.

When assessing this information, you should have minimum tenant requirements in mind. This can include an acceptable credit score, rent-to-income ratio, potential length of tenancy, and so forth.

You can also include lifestyle elements such as whether they are a smoker and what kinds of pets they have, but it’s important to avoid discrimination based on things such as family status or possession of a service animal.

For these reasons, it’s important to understand tenant screening laws before you get started.

Finding Renters FAQs

Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions from both landlords and tenants about how landlords find tenants.

Who are the best tenants to rent to?

The best tenants make enough income to afford to pay their rent comfortably and have a history of paying their rent and other bills on time.

The best tenants also tend to stay for an extended period of time and limit the amount of time before you need to find a new tenant. Most of these factors can be investigated through tenant screening.

There are also “soft” factors to consider such as how they treat their neighbors and how demanding they are when it comes to things such as maintenance. The best way to investigate these things is to ask for references from previous landlords.

What is the best income-to-rent ratio?

The optimal income-to-rent ratio is 30% of the renter’s gross salary. This ensuresthey have enough income to pay their rent and other bills without feeling excessively financially strained.

How much profit do most landlords make?

While the amount differs depending on a number of factors, a good target for landlords is to make 10% profit on rent after all expenses and taxes.

What background checks do most landlords use?

The majority of data used in landlord background checks rely on information from the major credit bureaus including TransUnion and Equifax.

What qualities do you value most in a landlord?

Most people value landlords who are trustworthy, transparent in their dealings, legally compliant, respectful, organized, and prompt in their communications.

Can you negotiate rent?

Yes, in most cases, landlords are free to set their rent as they wish, though they may be restricted in how high they can go. This means that renters are free to negotiate.

The landlord may be willing to lower rent in return for a longer, more stable lease contract and stricter conditions around breaking the contract.

Find New Renters Now

Start finding new tenants today by effectively advertising your property, making sure you’re showing a property that’s in good condition, and setting a competitive rental price. But don’t forget to focus on appropriately screening tenants to ensure that the person or people who sign the lease will be able to pay their rent and will treat you, your property, and their neighbors with respect.

Always remember that this works both ways: Landlords are looking for good tenants, and tenants are looking for good landlords that respect their privacy and meet their obligations when it comes to maintaining the property. In most cases, when you treat tenants well, they will continue to be good tenants.