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Looking Beyond the Credit Score for Great Bannock County Tenants

Tenant Signing a Lease for a Bannock County Rental HomeIf you own a Bannock County rental home, one of the key aspects of keeping it profitable is to find a quality tenant.

Some landlords equate the “right tenant” as someone who has a near-perfect credit score. They base their tenant approval decisions on the notion that if someone has a great credit history, then that means they are more likely to have a financially stable future. While credit scores are important, they don’t tell the whole story. A landlord could overlook an otherwise great tenant if he puts too much weight on their credit score. Understanding what other items to look for when screening applicants can help tell who are the great ones right away.

Screening rental applicants is a complicated procedure which is why property owners are right to want to know more about the tenant’s financial situation. A credit score is a reasonable basis; however, a credit report can also offer a lot more information that an owner can use to determine whether or not a tenant is able to make payments on time and in full. For example, late payments on an account that is now current can bring a credit score down but also shows the applicant is now paying their bills on time.

Although a past vehicle repossession or a credit card charge-off is a big issue for many property owners, it is important to take into consideration the effects of the Great Recession. A lot of people were affected, and through no blame placed on them, they had lost jobs or homes but have since then recovered and maintained a good job and their credit accounts. Or maybe a previous medical emergency has caused the applicant to miss paying their medical bills or student loan payments, but they’ve made sound financial choices since then. In these situations, the score might be a less important factor than the tenant’s payment history over time. A few mistakes many years ago should not disqualify an otherwise solid applicant.

To understand what lies beyond what is usually seen on paper, it’s also good to gather information from the applicant that is not on the credit report itself. If the possible tenant has a valid explanation for their lower credit score, such as those listed above, that may be a reason to keep them under consideration. Also, property owners must always supplement an applicant’s credit report with references who can vouch to their potential. If an applicant has a strong history of paying rent on time and a stable income, these factors may be better indicators of how they would do as a tenant than numbers on a credit report.

Tenant screening can be an involved process, especially for single-family rental homes in Bannock County. Property owners generally want someone who will be a stable, long-term tenant, making the decision an even more critical one. At Real Property Management Pocatello, we perform thorough screening for every applicant, from credit reports and beyond. Our property management professionals know what to look for, and how to choose the right tenant for every rental property we manage. If you would like to learn more about our screening process or would like to speak to someone, please contact us online or by phone at 208-234-1000.

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