Conducting An Instant Background Check

“Conducting An Instant Background Check” written by Mike Marko

Are you looking to conduct an instant background check on your rental applicants?

With the increasing number of prospective tenants wishing to rent your property, your task of screening them may be piling up. Since you don’t want to accept bad tenants, screening the applicants one by one is essential.   

But time is of the essence.  

Luckily, you can conduct an instant background check to quickly verify some information about your applicants.

Are you interested in learning about this process?  

Then let’s take the time to talk about the two methods of conducting an instant background check.

2 Methods Of Running An Instant Background Check

Property managers generally have a lot of responsibilities in managing a rental property business and any process or a new way of doing things that save time is important to incorporate into your property management business.

When processing a pile or a large number of rental applications finding ways to sort and find the best renters is key to saving time and money for your property management business.  Fortunately, an instant background check is available to at least verify some of the information presented in the prospective tenant’s rental application which can help you to save time and money in the application sorting process.

There are two methods of conducting an instant background check and both of them can speed up the process of choosing the right tenants.

Since our lives rely heavily on technology, learning how to incorporate new tools to ease and lessen our workloads is important to running a property management business effectively.

Part of incorporating new technology is learning how to use the instant background check effectively for your property management business.

What Is An Instant Background Check

An instant background check is a background check run on the internet that helps lessen the time when sorting through applicants for rentals. The instant background check is exactly that, you put in the personal data for a possible tenant and instantly (within seconds) you receive information regarding criminal records, commercial records, and financial records of a person. It is a method that can be used by property managers to speed up the process of screening tenants.

Now that we have defined what’s an instant background check, the first method that property managers can do to run an instant background check is to perform their own search online.

1. Perform Your Own Search Online.

An instant background check is normally done online by a company that specializes in compiling the information fast and effectively for your review. However, you can also perform a quick or instant background check on your own by using your computer or laptop and connect it to the internet to begin the process of searching for information on your possible tenants.

When doing your own quick internet check on a tenant you normally need the prospective tenant’s application or all their personal information before you can do the background search. When the possible tenant fills out the application you must also inform the applicant that the information presented in their rental application will be used and verified for the tenant screening process.

a) Search Tenant’s Name On Google.

When doing your own instant background check you should have a specific process that helps you get the most recent and best information on the possible tenant. To begin the process we would suggest doing a quick search for the background of your tenant online. Probably the easiest place to start the background check is to type in the tenant’s name and information on the Google search engine.

Search your prospective tenant’s name on Google and see what the results will give you.

  • Visit the search engine main page of Google. Type the name of your prospective tenant in the search box then hit enter and see what comes up.
  • Search for other information that is linked to the name of your tenant. You can use the information like previous addresses, employers and other personal information that the tenant gave in the rental application form.
  • To narrow down the search to a single website, you should type “site” before the name of the tenant in the search box. For example “John Smith”

b) Be Specific On Your Search.

When doing your own instant background check you need to be aware of the possibilities that you have found information on the wrong person.

If your search gave you a lot of people with the similar name, you can use advanced search options to further help you to narrow down the results. The more specific information you have like license number and date of birth will help you narrow your search. However, using social security numbers and other private information on the internet is dangerous as if a hacker or identity theft occurs due to your search you may be held legally responsible for giving that information out unwittingly.

  • With the Google search engine, you can filter your search by country and time. Look for and click “Search Tools” that is located above the list of results. Then, click either “Any Country” or “Anytime.” After you do this, the search results will narrow down.
  • It would be useful for you to find out information based on the recent activities of the prospective tenant. To do this while searching, include a time range when you typed the tenant’s name in the search box.
  •     Take down notes based on the information that you have gathered in your search.

c) Search Tenant’s Name On Social Media Platforms.

One of the easiest forms of an instant tenant background check is checking out the tenant on social media sites. So to make it easier to search for their accounts you should include an area on your applications asking for Facebook info and other social media names and references.

Facebook is now widely used all over the world. Almost everyone now has a Facebook account. That’s the reason why this is also one of the best ways to find out information about the prospective tenants. In reviewing their public posts you can have an idea about the applicant’s character based on their timeline by the way they post. Their photos can also tell you about their activities, hobbies, and even their workplace.

Here are some tips on doing a complete social media search on prospective tenants:

  • Log in to your account on Facebook or other social media platforms and search the name of the prospective tenant in the search box.
  • You can also search for more information about the prospective tenant using LinkedIn and Twitter. LinkedIn is a professional networking website but you can use this website to verify the employment and professional experience information in the rental application of the applicant. On the other hand, Twitter can give you a hint about the applicant’s personality, style, and interests.

d) Check Criminal Background Websites.

One of the most important processes to follow when doing your own instant background check is to log into State and Federal Government websites to see if the prospective tenant has any criminal records associated with them. Finding information on a tenant’s criminal past is difficult and could be hard to find without using an outside background checking company.

Conventional ways of requesting for an applicant’s criminal record through a police agency can take more than 10 weeks. But, as a property manager, you can also choose to do a background search using online services to discover any past and present criminal records of a prospective tenant almost immediately.

  • There are criminal record services which will allow you to do a check by name and state. Then, they will provide a report which contains a birthdate, aliases, addresses, and a list of offenses and dates.
  • will give you access to search through publically available records like court histories.
  • While there are websites that you can use for free, there are also criminal background websites that will charge you for a fee before giving full information.

2. Seek Help From Background Check Services

Using background check services online can help you lessen the time you will spend on searching your prospective tenant’s information. It can also provide you with more details that you might want to know that is not listed in the information you have gathered. There are many websites that are reliable and can help you gather the information that you need.

a) Look For Background Check Services On Google.

There are a lot of background check services available on the Internet. Just search for them on Google. If you decided to seek help from background check services, you will have to pay so that they can give you access to the records that they gathered for you. If you are really a busy person, seeking help from these services will be beneficial for you. That’s because they will do all the work of aggregating and sifting addresses, criminal records, and personal information of your prospective tenant for you.

  • There are differences among the services or information that you will receive from these background check services. There are services that only perform simple background searches. There are also services that provide in-depth background searches of social security records, verifying past employment, education and other specific details.
  • The details that you can find in criminal searches will also differ from one service to another. There are services that only perform a general US criminal check. But, there are also services that will require a higher fee that can report on a person’s criminal past in every single place of residence.

Another low-cost service that is an underwriting service and not a traditional background check service is a company that can help you sort your applications to find the best and most qualified renters. The best company that we have found that does this type of underwriting services is sets up an underwriting service that can include evaluations of financial, criminal, and renters pasts that can be done quickly and affordable. The normal price for this service is $5 to $15 depending on what information you want to evaluate regarding the prospective tenant.

b) Choose What You Need To Know.

When doing an instant background check via the internet it is important to set up criteria or set of details you would like to know to help you sort your applications effectively. As a property manager, it’s your responsibility to gather all the necessary information about your prospective tenants to avoid renting your properties to criminals or renters who are not responsible enough to pay their rents.

With the help of background check services, it is easy and effective to get all the information about the applicant’s past evictions, criminal records, public records, and full employment history. This information will give you an idea if a prospective tenant can be a good tenant in paying regular rents on time or if the applicant will be responsible for taking care of the rental unit during the lease term.

When you are choosing a background check service it is best to make sure that the service that you chose can provide you all the necessary information that you need about your prospective tenants. This way, you can come up with a sound decision of choosing the tenant that will rent out your property.

c) Remember To Provide Complete Information.

When doing any instant background check or using a background check company using or providing complete and detailed information about the tenant will determine the best results of the process. You should be prepared to provide a complete and exact information of your applying tenant to your chosen background search company. This is vital since there is a high possibility that they may come up with many “John Smiths” or “Suzi Renter” during their search.

By providing complete and exact information about the applicant you can receive the most complete and accurate information regarding the applicants evaluated.

Aside from the name of the prospective tenant you should also provide the following information:

  • applicant’s birthdate
  • previous addresses
  • previous names
  • details of employment
  • details of education

These details and information regarding your tenants are all available in the rental application form that is given to you by the applicant…

Final Thoughts On Conducting An Instant Background Check

If you are a busy property manager, you should try conducting an instant background check on your rental applicants.  As you learned, you can conduct them on your own or by seeking help from background check services. Either way, it can help you save time in screening your tenants.

If you have questions about the instant background check process, feel free to ask them in the comment section.




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3. What To Look For When Doing Tenant’s Credit Check

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Author: Mike Marko
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Article: Conducting An Instant Background Check

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