“What To Do Before Conducting A Background Check” written by Mike Marko
Do you know how to save time before doing a background check?
For a property owner, this is especially useful. It’s because a lot of your time and money can be eaten up by the processes involved in a background check. If you’re especially meticulous, you’ll find yourself spending a good amount on these.
What if you realize after doing a background check that an applicant isn’t even qualified to apply? By that time, you’ve already invested money in doing your research on them — apparently needlessly.
This sort of thing happens a lot, whether it’s due to oversights on the tenant’s or property manager’s part. Fortunately, there are ways to stop it from happening.
Here we’ll go over some tips that can help prevent you from running costly and time-consuming background checks on unqualified applicants.
Save Time before Conducting Tenant Background Check
An important thing to remember is that efficiency is a very important aspect to help you manage your property and grow into a better property management company.
Your efficiency will usually be tested up to when you need to do a background check. If doing a background check includes too much rechecking and too many unqualified applicants, then you might be doing something inefficiently.
With that in mind, even the little things like pre-screening before conducting a background check can help you be more efficient.
As a property manager, your time shouldn’t be wasted on a background check. So, you need to set up precautions to make sure that you will only bother checking up on qualified applicants.
The first step to that is setting up a pre-background check survey.
Have a Pre-Background Survey
A lot of property managers will say that one of their most time-consuming tasks is screening possible tenants. This is because, from the get-go, some interested tenants don’t read the criteria on a rental listing.
Entertaining interested tenants on the phone or even personally can already take up a lot of time. That’s just time wasted when some of them don’t even meet some of the criteria you set for tenants.
Again, this is just because not every tenant takes the time to check if they even fit the criteria for your listing.
Luckily, this can be remedied by creating a Google Form survey for interested tenants. Attach it to your listing. With this, you can go in detail about your criteria for possible renters.
Even simply asking for a yes or no answer to a question based on your criteria can show you how qualified these interested tenants are. And most importantly, it saves you time!
You should require interested tenants to take the survey before being considered. This will save you time from considering non-qualified tenants in the first place.
While you’re at it, you may also include some background check questions. This way, you have less information to search or ask for when you’re considering tenants.
Include a Photo of Your Rental Criteria
Another way to make sure interested tenants will see your rental criteria is to include it as a photo.
This can be effective because interested tenants will most likely view your media files to know more about the property. It’s common for tenants to look through photos to get an idea of what a property looks like as well as its location on the map.
You should take advantage of this to make sure your interested tenants will see your rental criteria. A simple screenshot of your criteria can do the trick. It’ll catch the eyes of whoever is browsing.
Include FAQs in Your Rental Listing
Another mistake most property managers make is posting a property listing with only general information… if their listing even has any.
This causes your interested tenants to rely on calling or messaging you directly to get answers for common questions. That’s an enormous waste of time. It’s even more wasteful if you have to answer the same question twice.
So, it’s better to answer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on your listing. This will save you time from entertaining questions from tenants.
But that’s not all it can do. An FAQ list can also reduce the odds of getting applications from unqualified tenants.
How can an FAQ list do that? By answering questions that tell applicants who’s qualified or not. If a tenant sees an answer to their inquiry that disqualifies them for the listing, they can move on.
An example of this is pet or parking provisions. Let’s say an interested tenant has a pet or a vehicle. He wants to find out you allow those but doesn’t see anything in the list about them.
His only two choices will be to call you to ask the question or to risk applying already. But if you have an FAQ list covering those topics already (pets and parking spaces), he won’t need to waste either your time or his.
Fewer unqualified tenants applying will also lead to fewer unnecessary background check tasks. That’s why it pays to answer FAQs publicly in your listing.
Prequalify Renters over the Phone
It’s been noted already that phone calls can be time-consuming. But now think of providing property tours to unqualified applicants. Can you imagine how much more time that would waste?
That’s why you should go ahead and use calls when possible to prequalify applicants. If all the other prequalifying steps were passed (e.g. the survey, the FAQ perusal), you can call them to ask and answer more questions.
The way a person talks to you on the phone can even help you decide if you want to do business with him. If you don’t like the person’s attitude or tone of voice, it may not be a good idea to rent to them. It’s always harder to deal with someone you don’t think you can get along with.
By the way, save the information they give you in the call. This is so you can cross check it with your background check later if you’re considering them as tenants. Remember that your applicant’s answers and data should be consistent with your background check.
Read the Rental Application before Doing a Background Check
Even if you’ve made the rental application template and conditions, it’s always a safe bet to refer to it again before doing a background check on possible tenants. You can think of this as double-checking a tenant’s qualifications.
This double-checking step may seem unnecessary. However, there can be cases wherein the applying tenant may have missed a condition that disqualifies them.
If that’s the case, you wouldn’t want to let that disqualification fly over your head, too. Therefore, there’s no harm to rechecking your conditions before doing a background check.
With that said, don’t bother doing a background check on tenants who don’t fit the application.
By using the application to guide your background check, your process goes smoother. This will also help you avoid overlooking qualifications.
Final Thoughts on Saving Time before Conducting a Background Check
With attention to detail and a bit of effort, you’re on your way to saving time before conducting a background check. Taking the precautions I’ve described now will save you a lot more time in the future.
Just remember the tips I provided:
- Have a pre-background survey.
- Include a photo of your rental criteria.
- Include FAQs in your rental listing.
- Prequalify renters over the phone.
- Read the rental application before doing a background check.
With those, you can be reassured that you won’t be wasting time running a background check on even unqualified applicants.
If you have more questions about what to do to save time before a background check, feel free to leave a comment.
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