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Questions You Must Ask Your Potential New Tenants

Tenant screening is necessary if you want to be careful about who is going to live in your property. It helps you to get a background check of your prospective tenant so you can rule out the people who do not match your expectation. A number of questions can be asked to interview the interested renters either on phone or in person before you take them to visit your property. Listed below is a set of questions you must ask from your potential tenants:

Q: Why Are You Moving?
It is important to look for legitimate reasons like the tenant wishes to stay closer to work or he likes the neighborhood. If he complaints about disputes with the former landlord, you might want to know the reason behind it.

Q: Where Did You Previously Live?
If the tenant is moving within the same locality, expect a positive answer like the landlord is making repairs or the lease has ended. If that is not the case, he may be moving in because of a job transfer or he has shifted from his parent’s house. If he was evicted due to a dispute, look for another tenant.

Q: Where Do You Work?
Knowing where your prospective tenant works can give you a fair idea about his ability to pay. A tenant working in a reputed firm may be financially more secure compared to those having an unstable job.

Q: Can I Get A Reference?
A reference from the tenant’s current or previous landlord and his employer can be helpful. While the former landlord can describe his rent paying habits and the way he keeps the property, a reference from the employer can give you an idea about his job security.

Q: When Will You Move In?
If the tenant plans to move in after 2 or 3 months, you will be incurring a loss of rent for those months. There is no point in keeping your property vacant when you can find other tenants. If he is in a hurry to move in, make sure he has some positive reasons to explain his urgency like a new job or a sudden transfer.

Q: Are You Bringing Your Family?
According to your state laws and insurance policy, there may be a ‘two people per bedroom rule’. If the tenant wishes to bring his family along, ask about the total number of people. You can ask for a higher security deposit for bigger families to cover up for the wear and tear.

Q: Will You Be Able To Pay The Security Deposit And First Month’s Rent?
The tenant should be able to pay the security deposit and a month’s rent in advance. If your tenant gives a positive answer, you will know that he is financially stable. In case he hesitates, you can expect a delayed rent every month.

Q: Do You Smoke?
If you have a no smoking policy and your prospective tenant smokes, you can either ask him to do it off property or find another tenant.

Q: Will You Be Bringing Pets?
Landlords who allow pets can ask for a higher security deposit to manage damages caused by them. If you have a ‘no pet’ policy, look for a tenant who does not have one.

Q: How Long Do You Plan To Stay In This Property?
The tenant may be planning to rent your property for a month or a year. Since most landlords prefer to sign a 12 months contract, a tenant looking for a shorter stay may not be suitable. There is no point in renting the property for a few months as you will have to start the entire process all over.

Q: Do You Like The Property?
The prospective tenant should be able to let you know if he is happy with the property or if he wants to make a few changes. Make sure you ask this question before signing the lease. In case he demands for new appliances or a fresh coat of paint while you have no plans of doing it in the near future, you can search for a new tenant. It is important to make these things clear to your tenant in advance to avoid any confusion in future.

The landlord should ask the same set of questions to every tenant no matter if they appear to be on their best behavior. It will not only save time but also protect you from making bad decisions.

Tips To Winterize Your Killeen Rental Home

A well insulated home is the bare minimum requirement for tenants looking for a rental property during winters. As a landlord, you can take certain useful steps to keep your property warm in order to attract more tenants. For this purpose, a complete inspection of the house should be done to identify areas that allow cold air to enter. The roof, walls and floor may need to be examined as well as insulated. Making certain changes can help to keep the house toasty and more comfortable.

Listed below are a number of ways to keep the rental home warm during winters:

Install Thick Curtains

Heavy-weight curtains help to keep cold air from entering the house. You can use densely woven curtains made up of velvet, suede or any other thick material. To add a designer element to your rental property, you can install layered, patterned and color block curtains. Open the curtains on sunny days to let the sunlight enter the house and close them in the evening to prevent the warmth from escaping.

Check For Draughts

Draughts allow cold air to enter and heat to escape the house. This lowers the temperature indoors, increases the pressure on the heating system and causes the electricity bill to rise. Thus, to keep your rental home snug and warm during winters, you must draught-proof the house. Seal the gaps in windows, below the doors, around the switches on the walls as well as in floors. For this purpose, you can use weather stripping, door sweeps and foam.

Insulate The Walls

Install thick insulation on the walls, inside and out. It helps to prevent the cold and moisture from entering into the house, thus keeping it warmer during winters. If already insulated, check if it is thick and snug. Apart from the walls, you may also need to insulate the attic, crawlspace, ducts and garage.

Change The Furniture Placement

If your rental home has a fireplace, move the furniture closer to it. Avoid placing the beds and chairs too close to the windows as well as walls. Cover the furniture with thick blankets and cushions to keep warm and comfortable.

Cover The Floors

The flooring also tends to get quite cold during winters. You may insulate the floors by installing good quality carpets and rugs throughout the house. Thick carpets are great at trapping heat and create a significant difference during winters.

Light Up The Furnace

To keep your rental home warm as well as reduce the electricity bill, you can light up the fireplace and lower down the heating. It can keep the house toasty and snug throughout the day. Use a glass front to prevent the heat from escaping through the chimney. When not in use, cover the flue. An open fireplace may allow significant amount of cold air to enter the house. You may also need to schedule a tune-up to clean or replace the fireplace filters to improve efficiency.

Make Sure The Vents Are not Blocked

If you place your furniture in front of the radiator or vent, it may absorb most of the heat. This causes the house to heat up slowly and inefficiently. Keep some distance between the furniture and vent or change the interior setting temporarily to avoid blocking the vents.

For your radiator to work efficiently, you may place a reflective foil or simply a tin foil behind it. It will reflect back the heat into the room instead of escaping up into the air. You can also place a rack or shelf above the radiator to allow the heat to spread throughout the room. Make sure the radiator is not touching the foil or shelf.

Install A Programmable Thermostat

Compared to a manual thermostat, a programmable one helps to keep the house warm consistently. It requires less time to adjust and allows the heating system to work efficiently. You can teach your tenants to program the thermostat. The heating can be set at a lower grade during the day and at a higher level during early morning and late night hours.

Follow the above mentioned tricks to make your tenants enjoy the coziness of winters in their comfortable rental home.

For more tips on winterizing your rental home in Killeen, contact Lone Star Realty & Property Management, Inc. You can visit our office at 1020 W Jasper Drive, Killeen, TX 76542 or call us at (254) 699 – 7003.

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