Good Tenant Qualities and How to Spot Them

Table of Contents

The definitive guide on what makes a dream tenant and where to find them.

Key Takeaways:

  • Finding dependable tenants can be difficult for property managers
  • What do landlords look for in applications? Here’s the answer
  • Property management companies and word of mouth can help you find a reliable renter 

Finding a dream tenant for your rental property (or landlord, for that matter) can sometimes be a lot like browsing a dating app. You just swipe merrily along until you find someone who likes walk-in closets and a private yard. It’s not always that easy, however, and there’s a lot more information you’ll need to review to find a good tenant. You want someone who won’t break your toilet or your heart. 

Choosing a bad tenant for your rental might cost you much more than just repairs. Unexpected tenant turnovers cost roughly $1800 monthly. There’s also the matter of time and mental stress. Avoid all that unpleasantness by filling your rentals with dream tenants. The current demand for rental housing is high, so you can likely take advantage of that and be selective to find the tenants you want. This guide walks you through the qualities of the perfect tenant and where you can find them.

Qualities of a Good Tenant

You can save a lot of money and frustration if you keep an eye out for certain qualifications when vetting prospective tenants. You may even want to jot down a short list to create a good tenant description that meets your needs. What do property managers look for in a tenant, though? Here are some of the most important criteria to keep an eye out for:

Pays on Time

Paying rent on time is arguably the most important of all renter’s qualifications. Late rent is a significant financial issue for many landlords. Rent payments are often used to cover a landlord’s mortgage payments, and if tenants don’t pay on time, they cost the property owner even more money. A tenant who always pays their rent on time is a coveted commodity. 

Respects the Property and Neighbors

An ideal renter will love and respect the property as much as you do. They should take pride in the property because they live in it. The best tenants are those who care about where they live and strive to keep it up to their standards and yours. 

Is Communicative

Being a good landlord is challenging when your tenants don’t communicate. You can’t take care of maintenance issues you don’t know about, and the longer they go unattended, the more expensive they tend to be. Mold left to run rampant in a home, for example, might end up costing you thousands in the long run. Great tenants openly communicate all pertinent issues, and you never have to wonder what’s happening with your unit.

Provides a Detailed Application

The truth is that what makes a good tenant application is one that’s filled out completely and accurately. Every piece of included data is critical for the rental process. Applicants who don’t complete the application could also cause a delay in the process. Providing all of their most pertinent information from the start indicates they are likely trustworthy and serious renters.

It’s important to remember that whatever criteria you use to choose tenants must be administered to every applicant similarly. No one group of people can be judged differently than the rest, according to the Fair Housing Act

How to Look for a Good Tenant

The tenant pool is more extensive than ever, so being stringent in your leasing approach is a safe bet. Even thoroughly vetted residents can turn out to be nightmares now and again, so taking those extra steps to find the perfect tenants is worth it. You can increase your chances of finding a suitable tenant by looking in the right places. Here are a few tips:

Word of Mouth

Some say word-of-mouth advertising is the most effective there is. It’s certainly the cheapest. Since people are putting their name and reputation on the line each time they recommend a product or person, it’s also often a credible form of advertising. 

Past tenants, investors, and vendors are all great sources of word-of-mouth advertising. Consider offering a referral fee or a fancy dinner if the prospective tenant works out well. 

Open Houses

An open house can net you the perfect client because it’s an in-person interaction where you can meet people face to face. You can see the applicant and get an authentic feeling for their personality while they fall in love with the unit in real time. You may even get an opportunity to look at their credentials or get a pre-application from them.

Property Management Companies

Property management companies provide landlords with already vetted tenant leads. They can also help find vendors, explain legal issues, and manage other issues related to rental properties. Working with the right property management company can save you time and be a huge asset, whether you’re a landlord or a tenant. 

Signs at the Property

A traditional “for rent” sign out front of a property may bring in many rental applicants, giving you a lot to choose from. They may not all be trustworthy, however. That’s when you put your detective hat on and go to work vetting your applicants. You can also use a service to do this instead if you want professional assistance with the process.

Good tenants are everywhere, but so are bad ones. The trick to ensuring you don’t get burned is properly vetting your applicants before offering a lease. Finding dependable tenants is imperative for every landlord who wants to stay in business. Learning to vet them correctly is equally important. Don’t let a few bad tenants bring you down. Many credible, honest tenants are out there waiting to care for your rental. Now you have the tools to find them. 

Get Help Finding Great Tenants

Taking the time to find reliable tenants isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Nomadic Real Estate does property management in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia regions, helping landlords fill available rentals with qualified tenants – and helping tenants find great rentals. We can help you whether you’re searching for the perfect tenant or the perfect place to call home. Contact Nomadic Real Estate for more information about your Greater D.C. property management needs.

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Enhanced Reporting

Your portal includes a selection of extremely useful reports. Reports are available in the “Reports” section, and are distinct from the financial statements. Unlike financial statements which are static records, Reports are dynamic real-time records that will update with current data every time you view them. 

Scroll down to learn more about Reports:

Navigate to the "Reports" module in your portal:

  • Keep in mind, these reports are dynamic records. They will refresh to display current information every time you view them. 

Enhanced Rent Roll Report:

  • The Enhanced Rent Roll Report will show the rent amount, last payment date, move-in date, lease expiration date, and security deposit amount for each of your tenants. 
  • It will also show a portfolio summary with occupancy percentage, vacancy loss, and more!

Unit Comparison Report:

  • If you own multiple units (or buildings) with Nomadic, you’ll get access to the Unit Comparison Report. 
  • This report enables you to quickly compare financial performance between your units at a glance without toggling between individual reports. 

Income Statement Month-Over-Month:

  • The Income Statement Detail – Monthly Report serves as a month-over-month record of portfolio performance. You’ll see itemized income and expense categories and can track monthly. This report will update with fresh data every time you view it. 

Financial Statements

Financial statements will be published to your portal on a monthly basis. The statements are found in your Documents library, and provide a historical record of all financial performance. The statements serve as a snapshot of financial performance over a given period, and are static documents (unlike Reports, the statements do not update/change in real-time). 

Scroll down for more info about the Financial Statements in your Documents library:

The Documents area contains monthly financial statements:

  • The statements in the Documents are are static documents. They are posted to the portal once a month to serve as a historical record of financial performance. 

Download a statement to see month and YTD financials:

You'll also find a month-over-month operating statement:

Portal Communication Tool

You can use your owner portal to communicate with our team. Any messages you send through the portal will go straight to your Account Manager. When we reply, you’ll get an email notification and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

Here’s an overview of using the communication platform:

Click "Communications" and navigate to "Conversations":

  • The communications module will contain a record of all messages that you create through the portal. 

Click the "New Message" button and send your message:

Responses will show up in the conversation ticket:

  • You’ll get an email notification whenever you get a response, and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

You can reply in-line using the comment box:

Each conversation will be logged in its entirety:

Understanding the Ledger

Your portal includes a ledger with all transactions. The ledger is populated with data in real-time as transactions flow through our accounting software. Much of this information is also available in the Reports area, as well as the Statements in your Documents library, but the ledger is the most comprehensive resource for diving into the details. 

Please scroll through the sections below to get a better understanding of how to interpret the ledger. 

By default, transactions are sorted chronologically:

  • The date reflected in the lefthand column is the actual transaction date, not the “bill date”. This is the date the transaction was actually processed. 

If you have multiple properties with Nomadic, you'll see the address for each transaction in the "Location" column:

  • You can filter the ledger to look at just one property, all properties, or specific sets of properties. 
  • If you only have one property with us, you’ll just see the ledger for that property. 

The Description column displays the transaction type:

  • BILL: this is an expense transaction, such as for repair costs or management fees.
  • CHARGE: this is a transaction  billed to the tenant, most typically a rent payment. 
  • NACHA EXPORT: this is a credit we processed to your distribution account. This type of transaction is how you get paid! 

The Amount column shows the dollar value of each transaction:

  • Positive Amounts: if an amount is positive, it reflects a transaction that is payable to you. Typically, this will be a rent payment that we collected from your tenants. On occasion, a positive number could also signify a journal entry or credit adjustment. 
  • Negative Amounts:  if an amount is negative, this is a transaction that is either payable to Nomadic or is an amount that has already been paid to you. Typically this will be for repair costs or management/leasing fees. Owner draws (net distributions into your checking/savings account) also reflect as negative amounts, since they have already been paid to you. 

The Account Balance column shows a sum of positive/negative transactions at a given point in time:

  • Account Balance should always equal zero after a net distribution has been processed. When the balance is zero, this means that all expenses have been paid and you’ve received the remainder as net operating income, leaving a balance of zero (meaning: no one is due any money, as all funds have been distributed appropriately). 

Navigating the Propertyware Owner Portal

Your portal includes some extremely useful features that help you understand your property’s financial performance at a new level, with real-time transparency into every transaction.

Scroll through the snapshots below for an overview of portal navigation! If you need more help or have specific questions about using the portal, you can reach out to your Account Manager any time for a screen share. 

You can filter all info by date range or property:

View a snapshot of income and expenses on your dashboard:

See every transaction in real-time on your ledger:

Statements and forms will be posted to your documents library:

View a suite of real-time financial reports:

See a running list of all bills, and drill down for more detail:

Under Bill Details, you'll find dates/descriptions/amounts and more:

You can also communicate with your Account Manager through the portal:

How do net distributions work?

Net distributions keep your accounting clean and simple. Each month we’ll collect rent from the tenants, deduct any repair expenses for the previous month and any management/leasing fees for the current month, and credit the remaining net operating income to your account. 

You’ll receive a statement via email each time a net distribution is processed, and can view all transaction details in your Propertyware owner portal.