When #Tenant Offers to Improve #RentalProperty … Beware! #tenantscreening

[Photo Courtesy: www.flickr.com]
[Photo Courtesy: www.flickr.com]
We recently received 30 day notice to vacate from one of our tenants, so we have been actively screening prospective tenants. We received a call from a middle-aged gentleman who said he had allergies, and offered to pay for converting our carpeted flooring to hardwood floors. He hadn’t even visited the property to take a look at it. We immediately became suspicious … Why would a man we’ve never met offer to pay for new hardwood flooring for a property he doesn’t own?

We proceed to ask our standard tenant screening questions, and discovered that he had poor credit, and lost his home and business during the 2008 recession. However, he said he made $94,000 per year and his wife made $30,000 to $40,00 per year. If he and his wife made such good money, why couldn’t they save and buy a property with cash? If they downsized and saved 50% of their income for 2 years, they could buy a condominium or townhouse.

We decided to use our research skills and tools to look into their background and discovered several judgements against them for unpaid rent, car notes, and taxes. We had the answer to our question — why would they want to improve our property? Why would they want to give us something for nothing? Because they were looking for a sucker! As the old adage goes, “there is a sucker born every minute!” They were looking for someone to scam. Fortunately, we’ve been landlords for more than 25 years, and we can smell a scam a mile away!

For the beginner real estate investor, if something seems to good to be true, it probably is. If someone offers you something for nothing, turn and run the other way! Most importantly, do your research! Screen prospective tenants!

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