One of, if not the most important aspect of managing a successful vacation rental property is the quality of your tenants over time.
Think about it like this: if your rental property is like a human body, the tenants are the food that body takes in. In the same way junk food & too many sweets can destroy the health of your body, terrible tenants can wreak havoc on your vacation rental property.
Unfortunately, the screening process many property managers use is completely hands off and is often a silly form on the checkout page of their website. This is a faulty solution and allows bad tenants to slip through the cracks.
But it's also not as easy as calling the person or sending a personal email to them. That's because it all comes down to the quality of the questions you ask. Ask the wrong ones, and you're in the same leaky boat as before. Ask questions that are overly common, and the tenants will have prepared answers (lies) for you.
That's why you need to know how to screen vacation rental tenants the right way. But don't worry, that's what I'm here for - so read on.
Avoid "yes" or "no" questions.
Throughout your screening process (and life in general) you should avoid asking questions that lead to "yes" or "no" answers. That's because it is much more difficult to catch someone in a lie when they're asked this type of question.
It's important to know when they're lying because the whole point of the tenant screening process is the figure out how responsible they are. Like I said, it's very hard to do this using "yes" or "no" questions, so we need to use open-ended questions instead.
These types of questions force potential tenants to think about their answer, making them less likely to lie. Also, if they do lie, it is infinitely easier to catch it in this situation.
That's why you need to remove "yes" or "no" questions from your tenant screening process forever. Open-ended questions lead to more informative answers and make lies easier to detect.
Be honest about any flaws with the property or location.
As it is with so many other aspects of life, honesty is the best policy when it comes to dealing with potential tenants. That's because there's nothing they hate more than negative surprises.
For example, the worst case scenario after telling them about an issue with the property is that that simply choose not to rent it.
On the other hand, if you fail to disclose this information, they're sure to leave negative reviews all over the web about your company. Sure, losing the sale is unfortunate in the short term, but those pesky negative reviews can be impossible to get rid of - creating far more problems for your company down the line.
Ultimately, you're always looking for glowingly positive reviews. If you're honest with the tenant and they still decide to rent with you, there's a significantly higher chance that they'll respect you for it.
That respect can go a long way in terms of how they treat your property while renting. In fact, I've even seen tenants leave amazing reviews for "less-than-amazing" vacation rentals - purely because they enjoyed dealing with the property manager.
Another benefit of those positive reviews is that they act as a sort of insurance policy for the property. The more favorable the reviews, the more people will want to rent the specific property - keeping your pockets happy into the future.
Don't ever feel like you need to hide any potential flaws with your property. Respect the potential tenants by telling the truth, and they'll tend to reflect that respect back to you.
Trust your gut feeling.
In the end, there's no formula or script to make the renter screening process completely flawless. Even after implementing all I've described above, you'll still need to use your own best judgment in deciding whether or not to rent to the potential tenant.
That's because the screening process is all about trust on either end. No matter how well designed your screening questions, they'll never replace good ole' human intuition.
Why is the tenant screening process all about mutual trust? Well, because if there is a shared feeling of trust between you and the tenant, they'll feel exceedingly worse about damaging your property. Not to mention, that feeling of trust leads to a far more enjoyable experience on both ends.
Don't rely on your questions alone when you're screening tenants. Always trust your gut feeling and remember - "If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck - it is a duck".
Any questions we missed? Contact us here today - we can't wait to help!