Fewer people look for homes during the winter months. Many prefer to semi-hibernate and wait for the warmer summer months before hunting down a rental and moving their worldly possessions. Tenant background checks are especially important during this time since it is easy to feel a bit desperate. Before you can conduct a background check, though, you need to find prospective tenants. Here are a few tips to help you through the process.
Advertise. Advertise. Advertise.
If you are a landlord with vacancies during the winter months, you will need to engage in some good marketing in order to find those few prospects looking for a home. Start by making sure you have an interesting and informative property listing. Are there plenty of pictures? Are your terms clearly listed? Consider having your pictures and ad copy done by professionals.
Next, make sure you post that listing on the highest traffic sites. Different sites work better for different markets. Make sure you know the right ones for your area. The best way to find tenants in the winter months is to ensure the tenants can find you.
Flexibility can make or break your ability to find a tenant in any tough market. Be willing to negotiate on terms such as rent and utilities. Also, don't forget the power of free stuff! Consider offering incentives to encourage prospective tenants. For instance, offer the first month free, waive certain fees, lower the rent, or give away gift cards.
Define Your Boundaries
As any seasoned landlord will tell you, sometimes no tenant is better than a bad tenant. Flexibility is important but desperation is never recommended. Define your boundaries. Know what terms you are willing to bend and what ones are too important to negotiate.
Start the Background Checks
Now that you've advertised, attracted prospective tenants, and gotten some applications filled out, the time to start those tenant background and credit checks has arrived. In a tough market, make sure you always run checks. Never be desperate. An empty unit is better than a tenant who is unable to pay rent or who destroys your property.