I have enjoyed the discussion on reading people. I find it very important to read possible renters. Many are truthful and many will tell every lie known to man! Some of my favorite lies I hear…

  1. I live alone, but my boyfriend is here on rare occasions.
  2. I have an 18 year old, but he is seldom here.
  3. Can you work with me on the deposit?
  4. I have no children (but you can hear them screaming in the background.)
  5. I occasionally watch a friend's child (this leads to full time baby sitting.)

In all honesty, I try to rent to as few people as possible. Go in and clean a unit up after a large group has moved and you will see my reasoning. The 'wear and tear' is unreal with two or more children (most of the time).

Back to reading body actions. Those who call from a friend's phone or from a pay phone worry me. Those who need to move right now worry me. More and more of my units are going to be non-smoking units. People tell me they do not smoke, but the yellow fingers, and the smell on their clothes tells me a different story. I like to meet and then read how a person conducts himself while chatting to me and to see if he looks me in the eye.

One of the best ways to read a perspective renter is Erenter.com! For an application fee of $35 you can learn a lot about people. Many times I give them the application and never hear back from them (a good thing). I do add the $35 onto their deposit, most don't do this and the applicant simply forfeits if he or she is not accepted.

People who get behind on their rent have numerous stories I hear and most won't face you. When you don't see them you face a type of silent and invisible body language on which volumes could be written.





Speak your mind

4 Comments so far

  1. Ken Drees on April 11, 2009 8:06 am

    Alan, what is your experience or your opinion on owning and renting properties in college towns? I think that with the extended downturn in the markets college town property may hold value better (location) than other areas and afford a good rental stream since less and less kids who shouldn’t be going to college will not be going(due to the economy), so the renters may be of a higher caliber of student–more responsible, which leads to more respect of the property, etc.

  2. Russell Pierce on April 11, 2009 12:02 pm

    Alan, I have a good friend who managed out of his home about 80 apartments in a college town. One of his simple techniques for "reading" a prospective renter was to explain that his wife needed their family car at the moment, and he would then ask the prospect if he could ride in the prospect's car to look at the apartment. The inside of the car gave off many clues about the housekeeping attitudes of the prospect — clean seats, windows and floors — and the ages of children — car seats or booster seats. If the car was too grungy, my friend wouldn't rent to the prospect. Yarnman

  3. Anton Johnson on April 11, 2009 12:38 pm

    Originally Submitted March 23, 2009


    One situation where residential real estate rental can be profitable is in properties that are within easy walking distance of a university campus. Parental co-sign as well as renting to separate individuals at one per bedroom, and private rents being compared to ever-rising student housing costs offer significant advantages over most other residential rental situations. Expectations are low for most student renters and as a result so are complaints. Maintenance is reasonable since local providers have a competitive environment and access to a cheap and plentiful labor pool. Resale is a breeze for anything that is structurally sound.

    I started purchasing properties like these eight years ago while my daughter was a college sophomore. It has been such a positive experience that I gradually completed 1031 exchanges, and now own this segment almost exclusively.

  4. Legacy Daily on April 12, 2009 7:32 am

    When checking references, I suggest speaking with the landlord prior to the current one as the current one may have reasons to say great things about the prospective tenant (to get rid of him). The location and type of the property is the best filter of prospective tenants followed by the credit report and rental application.


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