One of the key qualities I look for in every new tenant or tenant-buyer that fills my mobile home properties is the seemingly “simple” ability to follow directions.
As a landlord and buy-and-hold investor I have been conditioned to believe that past performance typically leads to future performance. You would not typically invite a wolf into your chicken coup; and you typically would not let an eviction-prone tenant into one of your prized rental properties. So like any seasoned landlord you protect your investment by properly screening every potential tenant's credit background, criminal history, sexual predator status, references, W-2s, current employment status, and a myriad of other screens and checks to ensure your applicant has the means and ability to pay on-time every month.
As of lately I have been rethinking what I consider my most important factors when approving potential tenants and tenant-buyers. Without minimizing my thoroughness on any of the previously stated checks I have decided to included the ability to “follow directions” to the list of must-have criteria I now seek in my next mobile home tenant or tenant-buyer.
Below is a general summary of my tenant and tenant-buyer approval process. As you follow along pick and choose any key aspects you would like to implement into your business and do so. [If you can improve upon this process please comment that below too.] Realize each step below is an action task that eliminates more and more unfocused, potentially high-risk tenants and tenant-buyers from wasting your time.
Important to mention: Over the past 10 years it has been my opinion that approximately 5% or less of the mobile home prospective-tenants and tenant-buyers are low-risk occupants that plan to stay in your property for the long-haul and keep it safe while paying monthly.
START: Advertisements run all over town for my property for sale (via payments) or rent…
1. When a potential tenant or tenant-buyer responds to any of my marketing pieces he is immediately instructed to call a local phone number with an extension to get more information about the property. I use Evoice.com as phone extension service.
2. Once the potential tenant calls the number and enters in the proper extension they will hear a 5-8 minute message that OVER describes the property, qualifying instructions, location, address, price and terms (if applicable). Also included are turn by turn directions to the property and instructions to drive by the home, checkout the neighborhood, and look through the front and side windows.
3. Once the potential tenant verifies he approves of the mobile home's exterior, the neighborhood, and he or she is standing in front of the home they can call the phone number located on the flyer in the side window. Note: The flyer and signs in the front of the home all lead potential-tenants to call the prerecorded message, however the flyer in the side window lists your direct phone number for immediate service and entry code.
4. Now a potential-tenant is ready to walk through the home and confirm he loves it. He has called your direct phone and you have given him the lock-box code on the front door of the home. Make certain you collect a full name, phone number, and driver's license number of each potential tenant that asks for your property's lock-box code. Instruct the potential tenant to call you immediately upon their exit to confirm the mobile home is locked, the key is safely back in the lock-box, and lastly to get their opinion on the property. Change your lock-box code weekly.
By the time you talk to any potential tenants or tenant-buyers on the phone they have already been able to see and approve the neighborhood, basic home layout (through the windows), hear about the qualifications process, approve the total monthly payment amount, approve the total move-in fee, and more.
5. If the potential tenants or tenant-buyers love the mobile home and would like to apply for residency they will have to become approved not only with you but at the mobile home park itself (if the mobile home is located in a park).
In order to begin my company's approval process I instruct all potential tenants and tenant-buyers to email my companies “application email address”. This email account is set up to send an automatic response (commonly known as “vacation responder”) to all incoming emails immediately. In this auto-reply email applicants will receive is a web-link to Rentapp.com with instructions to fill out the online application and pay as instructed.
If halfway through reading this article you were slightly overwhelmed at the number of action steps and/or list of directions asked of every potential tenant or tenant-buyer then the goal worked. This entire step-by-step process is to naturally deter flaky, unmotivated, bad-direction-followers from wasting your time.