Okay, that’s a trick question. Why? Because your dream applicant shouldn’t “look like” anything in particular: not male, female, black, white, Asian, Catholic, Muslim, American, Russian or any other pre-determined profile. Using a prospective tenant’s race, color, religion, country of origin, gender, family status or disability to either approve or reject him or her for a lease is against the law, after all.
But there are several qualities that most landlords would probably agree make for a dream applicant:
- She can afford the rent: Smart tenants know how much of their take-home salary should go to their rent, utilities, car payment and other bills each month. Dream tenants only apply for rental housing they can afford.
- He has stable employment: A dream applicant is proud to present his employment history, because it shows he’s stable enough to hold down a job for longer than a month.
- She doesn’t balk at the tenant screening process: These days, smart tenants know that they will probably undergo tenant screening. And they appreciate the fact that you care enough about who lives in your rental property to require background checks for all tenants.
- He has a good credit history: The dream tenant has never been evicted, pays his bills on time and lives within his means. He’s not overextended on credit, is not going to have his car repossessed, and will most likely pay his rent on time each month. And, if his credit history is less than stellar, he has a co-signer lined up.
- She has great references: When you call a dream applicant’s former landlords and personal references, they all say good things. And they’re not her friends, co-workers or parents who are pretending to be former landlords!
Remember not to judge a prospective tenant by anything other than their ability to pay the rent and security deposit, and pass a background and credit check. And if you’re lucky, you’ll land a dream applicant who becomes a dream tenant!