Screening home visit
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Screening home visit (by kkezir [KS]) Apr 18, 2017 11:12 AM
       Screening home visit (by David [MI]) Apr 18, 2017 12:26 PM
       Screening home visit (by WMH [NC]) Apr 18, 2017 12:32 PM
       Screening home visit (by RathdrumGal [ID]) Apr 18, 2017 4:36 PM
       Screening home visit (by razorback_tim [AR]) Apr 18, 2017 5:40 PM
       Screening home visit (by Lynda [TX]) Apr 18, 2017 7:15 PM
       Screening home visit (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Apr 18, 2017 8:29 PM
       Screening home visit (by Kkezir [KS]) Apr 18, 2017 8:36 PM
       Screening home visit (by busy, busy, busy [WI]) Apr 18, 2017 9:28 PM
       Screening home visit (by busy, busy, busy [WI]) Apr 18, 2017 9:51 PM
       Screening home visit (by Andrew,Canada [ON]) Apr 19, 2017 6:04 AM
       Screening home visit (by Dan [IL]) Apr 19, 2017 7:16 AM
       Screening home visit (by S i d [MO]) Apr 19, 2017 8:43 AM
       Screening home visit (by pat [TN]) Apr 19, 2017 12:48 PM
       Screening home visit (by David [MI]) Apr 19, 2017 1:16 PM
       Screening home visit (by frank [NY]) Apr 19, 2017 2:00 PM
       Screening home visit (by Pamela [IN]) Apr 19, 2017 2:13 PM
       Screening home visit (by David [MI]) Apr 19, 2017 2:43 PM
       Screening home visit (by Paulette [WY]) Apr 19, 2017 8:26 PM
       Screening home visit (by Andrew, Canada [ON]) Apr 20, 2017 5:23 AM
       Screening home visit (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Apr 20, 2017 11:40 AM
       Screening home visit (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Apr 20, 2017 2:51 PM

Screening home visit (by kkezir [KS]) Posted on: Apr 18, 2017 11:12 AM

I have been reading about the screening home visit to their current residence.

I have been thinking about implementing this.

How do you go about doing this?

Is there anything written about it your application?

How much notice to you give them (to clean up)?

What are you looking for? Do you just go in the front door or do you ask to see the kitchen and bathroom?

I am looking for how you include this in your normal screening process.

I have been hesitating because it just seems odd for me to say before I can approve you application I need to inspect your current residence. Maybe I should just get over it ;-)


Screening home visit (by David [MI]) Posted on: Apr 18, 2017 12:26 PM

Every landlord on this site should post whether he or she would accept in-home screening of THEIR home to rent a property.

Screening home visit (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Apr 18, 2017 12:32 PM

David/MI, not a drop-by for sure!! Our house is acceptably semi-clean MOST of the time but I am not a big-time housekeeper, also we have cats and live on a sandy beach.

So if someone wanted to come interview me, I would ask for at least 24 hours so I could do some tidying up. Probably longer so I could call me bi-monthly cleaner to come early LOL!

And even then, they would not see further than my living room and hall bathroom without a warrant. --173.22.xx.xx

Screening home visit (by RathdrumGal [ID]) Posted on: Apr 18, 2017 4:36 PM

These posts make me think that some of you have never seen a truly filthy house! You over look toys, clutter, and last weeks newspapers waiting to go to recycle. You don't care that their decor is not up to Architectural Digest standards. You are looking for filth, bad smells, unauthorized animals, rotting food left out, obvious drug paraphernalia.

Ask your police or EMT friends to describe what a truly filthy house looks and smells like. (Hint: you feel like you need an immediate shower upon stepping over the threshold.)

Screening home visit (by razorback_tim [AR]) Posted on: Apr 18, 2017 5:40 PM

The signature block of my application contains verbiage that they agree to an inspection of their current residence. I used to call them and tell them I had everything approved but the only thing I lack is coming to look at their home. Someone here challenged me that maybe I shouldn't tell them they're approved except for that. Now I tell them that we are working through processing their application and the owner wants me to come and meet their pets and see how they take care of their current home. I don't mind someone having notice - whether that's an hour or 24 hours in reality. The notice would allow someone who isn't supposed to be there to leave or some things (even potentially illegal things) to be cleaned up, but there's no way, even with 24 hour notice, that they are going to cover up pet smell, roach smell, clean up hoarder-type mess, etc. --70.178.x.xx

Screening home visit (by Lynda [TX]) Posted on: Apr 18, 2017 7:15 PM

Well, I have an 'in.' I accept 2 pets--even up to 2 large dogs. So I tell the applicants I will bring some paperwork and also want to meet their pets. Then I DON'T give them a heads-up. I show up and I look for the following: bad smell in the house, badly behaving pets that are then yelled at, pets that don't obey their owners or show aggression, other pets not mentioned(lied about). A house that is so cluttered that it's on its way to hoarding, a house that has damage to doors/windows/carpets, has sheets on the windows, has broken furniture on the porch, toys all over the lawn, etc.

Whatever you see, in 3 months--that will be your place! If you will not be able to live with that for a year--find a way to disqualify them. One of the things I do is write in the top right corner of ea app--003, 004, 005 006, etc. Then I can always say another app before yours was approved first. I seldom have to do this any more, as most of my tenants come from referral. The world of LLs that take 2 big dogs is small, and word gets around.

Screening home visit (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Apr 18, 2017 8:29 PM


Most important: don't be timid. Who has the most to loose here? YOU!

I copy Mike Butler's teaching on this: it's like a crystal ball to see what YOUR home will look like in 3 months.

A drive by MIGHT be enough to deny, but most need you to step onside.

1. When they move out are YOU willing to clean up their mess?

2. If they made a sandwich on the kitchen counter would you eat it?

We take a photo of the animals. Cats: check the litter box.

I pay a helper to go do this within 24 hours. She calls and makes an appoitment.

Dirty people do not clean even when they know you are coming. Clean people say "My house is a mess. I get off work at 4. Could you come at 5 so I have a chance to pick up the house?" That's a great answer! You found someone who CARES about their housekeeping!

Your tone of voice and confidence makes a big difference. "Hi Mrs Smith. Your application to rent with ABC Property Management is partially approved. The next step is for me to stop by with a paper for you to sign and check your current home. I need to take a photo of your cat Fluffy. Would 6 o'clock be convenient?"

Not concerned with clutter, toys, or laundry. Looking for stink, garbage, damage, and vicious animals.

Just do it. It's not rocket science. Hire a realtor if you want. But it's up to YOU to protect your investment.


Screening home visit (by Kkezir [KS]) Posted on: Apr 18, 2017 8:36 PM

Tim and Brad thank you for the details. That was what I was looking for. I will implement for my next applicants.

Screening home visit (by busy, busy, busy [WI]) Posted on: Apr 18, 2017 9:28 PM

When I hand the paper application, I look them straight in the eye and tell them 'I will pick up the application at your house. How you take care of where you live now is how you will take care of my place.'

I'm not looking for perfect housekeeping, but other things show themselves, things that make me say nope. I don't say nope until I am safely out and away.

Phone pre-screening weeds 80-90% of those who respond to my posting. Showing them my property weeds a couple more. I only hand out four or five applications, and I continue my online screening with any info I gleaned from our conversations at the showing, so I might have to text one or two of those four or five that 'upon further review, I will not be able to offer them the property at this time'. Sometimes I tell them why, usually if it relates to something I told them I would need to look into.

My very first, and most important screening criteria is that they are always calm and polite. The pushy/rude ones don't get past pre-screening. By the time I pick up the app at their place, most of my screening hurdles have been met. The last two turn overs, I only went into the home of the person who now rents from me. I had already checked income/ employment, looked them up on all of my online sites. My properties are C class.

Yes David, I would accept inspection of my current place. I think the better applicants all find it reasonable, many have told me so. In fact, two have expressed that their good housekeeping skills finally got them recognition. And, they keep my places like that. (I keep my properties in very good condition for the area. Even my electrician says so. ) So, yes, David, someone wanting a very good place finds it reasonable.

Screening home visit (by busy, busy, busy [WI]) Posted on: Apr 18, 2017 9:51 PM

Kkezir, also, when I go into their home, I'm sure to wipe my feet at the door, slide my shoes off if appropriate (ALWAYS in a Hmong person's home, always if my shoes are wet. Helps to plan on shoes that slip on...but...bending down to tie my laces gives a better glance of white bedbug powder...) I don't touch anything, don't go into bedrooms at all, just peek from hallway if offered. Of course, I would shake hands with anyone being introduced, say hello to children.

I'm in and out in just a couple of minutes. Living room, kitchen, often show me all I need. You can smell weed at the door, hear arguments as you walk up or leave. Grease stains from the motorcycle they stored inside for the winter are easy to spot on the carpet. White powder at all the edges tells you about their bedbugs. (You probably noticed the mattresses in the alley on your way in.) And the stripper pole in the living room is obvious. (Just walk right past, don't say a word...resist temptation to try a dance move...)

Screening home visit (by Andrew,Canada [ON]) Posted on: Apr 19, 2017 6:04 AM

David MI, you said "Every landlord on this site should post whether he or she would accept in-home screening of THEIR home to rent a property.

YES i absolutely would. And in fact I have done just that when my wife and I were starting out and living in apartments I did invite landlords to come and see our current apt to help them decide if they wanted to rent to us.

As a landlord i know how comforting this can be and I fully understand both sides. AND when when a tenant signs a lease with me I even show them I own the property to which they are paying me two months rent to reassure them their money is safe and they are giving it to the actual owner.

Screening home visit (by Dan [IL]) Posted on: Apr 19, 2017 7:16 AM

First, I want to mention that all of the posts I've read here are extremely insightful and truly indeed reflect all of that hard-fought experience. I fully understand the need for an interior inspection. What I haven't read here is whether anyone finds it beneficial to also perform an unannounced drive-by of those same residences, especially at night (to see what kind of action is flying there), or to interview their next door neighbors as part of the screening process. I appreciate your comments! - Dan

Screening home visit (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Apr 19, 2017 8:43 AM

Lots of good thoughts here on the reasons why to do it and practical steps on how to do it.

Would I open my house for a visit? Depends on how badly I want the place in question. If you want to play ball you got to follow the rules, and as we all know he who owns the house makes the rules. As a corollary to ALDO's rule, I'll say "The LL is in charge; the applicant is not!"

Folks are already opening up their personal lives (SSN, credit report, criminal history). I think someone who refused to allow this would most likely have something to hide and/or would be troublesome in the future when it was time to do showings to prospective tenants when the lease is ending. I understand the desire for privacy, but not to allow someone to drop by for a quick breeze thru the place for verification purposes is borderline paranoid. I tell them I'm not going to be wearing white gloves or digging thru any closets or drawers...just a quick verification that this is indeed their address and to see the pets. 9 out of 10 have no problems with it. And for the 1 who does...again like Brad said, a bullet dodged in most cases.

Screening home visit (by pat [TN]) Posted on: Apr 19, 2017 12:48 PM

When I am screening an applicant, if the applicant lives nearby I always do a drive-by to look at the outside of the property-checking for old autos accumulating in the yard, junk/trash all over the yard, etc. What type of people are living in the adjoining house. The current address is also a good clue-known areas that are not wee-kept, landlords that do not inquire higher standards for renters, areas known where multiple families move-in even though there are only 2 adults and 1 child listed on the application. If No Pet Policy check for any evidence of multiple pets on the premises. I enter any negative notations on the back of the last page of the applications so if an applicant is not approved and he/she calls back regarding status I can always refer to my notes and either tell them I am still in the checking process or it tentatively rented holding with a security deposit till a certain date. Usually after the 2nd or 3rd call they stop calling. --152.130.x.x

Screening home visit (by David [MI]) Posted on: Apr 19, 2017 1:16 PM

Sid, I think you hit the nail on the head with your answer "Depends on how badly I want the place in question."

My target demo, white collar salaried professionals with 700+ credit have their pick of rentals. They know that it's not typical business practice (of large complexes) to do in-house visit. But they know it is SOP to do credit and criminal check. They will happily hand over a fat deposit so I am covered that way.

My other target demo are people in their late teens , early 20s who are roommates. It's very likely they are living with parents or other roommates making things not as simple.

Screening home visit (by frank [NY]) Posted on: Apr 19, 2017 2:00 PM

David [MI], so you are saying that you are plagued with tenants that trash the place, bring in extra pets and PEOPLE? If they do trash the place, you are covered with your deposit.

COOL. I don't do home inspections either. 750+ ficos, 4x rent income and $2k+ rent usually gets me a great tenant. If I can find a firm in NYC to do for me I might do it for my sub $2k places. They seem to attract folks with more complications.

You date someone that was single and they won't let you in their apartment. Wouldn't that be a red flag?

Oh yea, someone can come and visit me. My place is more cluttered than most of my tenants.

Screening home visit (by Pamela [IN]) Posted on: Apr 19, 2017 2:13 PM

The how to:

Me: When you are sure you want to rent this house just give me a call and we will set up a time for me to come to your home and take your application and collect the deposit. I don't do applications until you are sure you want the house because we collect the deposit with the application.

Prospect: Oh I want it and can give you the deposit now.

Me: I am sorry but the only way we do applications is at your current home. We always do this and have to treat everyone the same.

Prospect: What if you don't approve my application?

Me: If something comes up while I am filling out your application that would keep you from being approved I will let you know right then. If you are not truthful on the application or something does come up unexpected, I will return your deposit minus the application fee which is $50. Are you worried about something specific? Why don't you think about it and let me know when you would like me to come over.

So I do not rent to folks who are not currently renting. It does take some time to go take the application but not nearly as much as renovating a filthy house.

Screening home visit (by David [MI]) Posted on: Apr 19, 2017 2:43 PM

frank, no , where did I say that?

Screening home visit (by Paulette [WY]) Posted on: Apr 19, 2017 8:26 PM

I think the home inspection is a great idea. I remember reading about it in a previous post written by Brad 20,000.

We did our first home inspection recently. It went really well. They were more than happy to show us the place on short notice. We already approved their application, but hadn't told them yet. The home inspection gave us the confidence to rent to them.

Question for Brad 20,000: What paper do you have them sign at the in home visit?

Screening home visit (by Andrew, Canada [ON]) Posted on: Apr 20, 2017 5:23 AM

Yes I will do a driveby of their current residence (or at least google it to see the property and neighbourhood)

I once did a driveby of a tenants residence. The house and yard were a mess. I did NOT take heed and told myself, "it would be different" when they moved into my rental was not, they ruined the home.

I also now see if the tenants residence is listed on the bedbug registry. Tenant groups have set up this registry....very helpful.

Screening home visit (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Apr 20, 2017 11:40 AM


The form they sign is permission to enter the home and snap a few pics.

I think I'll bring this to Convention as a handout.


Screening home visit (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Apr 20, 2017 2:51 PM


You bring up a great point! Great idea to at least drive by when everyone is home. Just don't ASSUME things are OK if it's quiet. They might be out picking up junk to bring home!

Filthy people do not clean up before an appointment and true filth, fleas, junk cars, or hoarding cannot be cleaned up in a few hours.

(add fleas to the list! Check your socks when you leave!)

Also, the call to make an appointment can be a self-screener. When she did not want to allow the visit this saved me time and money. LOVE Self screening!

Apartments: you MUST go inside. The staff cleans and polices the exterior so a clean entry means nothing. Many apts even have rules against rusty or junkie cars, and boats, trailers, etc.

Heads up to some LLs: some of you are OCD about cleanliness. You clean after Molly Maids leave. NORMAL living produces a certain amount of clutter, dishes, toys, laundry, and some people are just not OCD like you! Clutter and piles will disappear when they move out or can be easily trashed. Parents working overtime or odd shifts may not make folding laundry a priority. Look for the tough stuff like damage, crayon on the walls, stink, vicious animals, and cooperation.

SID had an important point: They WANT our homes because ours are nicer and cleaner than the competition. ALso helps us attract quality applicants.


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