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Home · Property Management · Tenant Screening : Rental Home Dating Websites: What Tenant Is Perfect For Your Rental?
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By Brett D Furniss

couple at computerDating websites have grown in popularity and are apparently very effective; one in five people getting married met on-line, their advertising claims. That’s pretty good!

It can be even better for real estate. Many polls conclude that 90%+ of home searches begin on-line! Real estate web sites have the potential to be much better matchmakers!

But the real test of effectiveness is how many leases are consummated (for lack of a better word) from this on-line home matchmaking. And whether the landlords and tenants are happy with the union after move-in. Much like the 4 out of 5 people who don’t get married from the dating sites, sometimes it doesn’t work out between the landlords and tenants. Why not?

Maybe this matchmaking could be much more effective if there was a lot more honesty going on from both sides of the deal?

For example, on-line ads for homes tend to look like this regardless of what the home actually looks like:

Immaculate & cozy, this 3 BR / 2 BA stunner can make even the most choosy renter’s heart melt. Beautiful home with too many upgrades to count. Voted safest and best run neighborhood in Elmwood for 2 of the last 3 years (as reported by the Elmwood HOA Newsletter)! Priced attractively at $1,200/month and is sure to go fast!And if the renter had an ad?  It would read something like this:

Ideal tenants seek quiet abode for a loving family. Our 8 dogs are trained in Vienna (on Vienna Drive in Lincroft, NJ, it turns out…) and have never soiled a single fiber of carpet. Our rent is always paid on time and the only time the police come to our home is when we make them hot chocolate after they are done caroling in our neighborhood. We love our landlords and they love us!

But what is the truth? No tenants or landlords are filling out a 300-question survey where algorithms are going to match the tenant and house together. Each of them is going to claim that what they offer is top of the line, no matter what the real truth is.

The problem for the landlord is that the tenant can see the home and make a determination if the rental ad is true, while the landlord must run an application and make a partially subjective decision on information gathered during the application process.

So how can landlords get the type of tenant they want? It really goes beyond the rental application. Much like dating is about being the mate that you want to attract, rental homes are the same way. What?

Generally-speaking, it’s a simple truth and goes like this:

If the rental house is priced economically (compared to similar homes on the market) and immaculate, the chances rise exponentially that tenant it attracts will be economical (buys things valued properly) and value cleanliness.

On the other hand, if the house is overpriced and dirty, the tenant it attracts will more likely spend recklessly (re: which may lead them into situations where they struggle to pay rent) and not care about the cleanliness of the home.

So, in practical terms, should the spots in the carpet be cleaned out prior to going to market? Yes, if the landlord wants a tenant who rents the home to care about spots on the carpet. What about cleaning the appliances? Only if the landlord cares about attracting tenants who care about clean appliances. Should the highest rent possible be asked for? Only if the landlord wants a tenant who doesn’t conduct research on their biggest expenditures which may signal their overall financial shakiness.

Much like humans, homes attract suitable mates. Good-looking people marry other good-looking people. Clean people rent clean houses. Financially responsible people don’t lock into overpriced rental homes.

What type of renter will your rental home naturally attract? Or more importantly, turn off?

Brett Furniss is the President & Owner of BDF Realty (“Charlotte’s Most Innovative Property Management & Investment Company”), and Rent-To-Sell Realty (“When You Need a New Solution to Sell Your Home”) which specialize in rent-to-own (lease options) and rent-to-sell homes. You can contact him directly at For a FREE subscription to “Charlotte Property Management Weekly” visit Source:

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  • Bill

    a little simplistic… a perfect world, having everything nice will attract nice tenants…except of course in a neighborhood where yours is the only nice house….in a neighborhood with high crime…..bad schools….but of course what landlord would want to own houses in such a neighborhood? The fact is that life isn’t as easy as this author would describe. Clean and repaired will always attract the best tenants, but sometimes even the best it will attract are people you would prefer not to rent anything to.

  • Franco

    I agree. Still need much more due diligence on the ideal tenant. I have extremely clean and cozy apartments, tenants with decent credit, overall appearance in check only to destroy the apartment. I am concerned with the tenant that doesnt read the lease in its entirety, shows up to a showing with cash in hand right away (they have something to hide), and barely walk the apartment only to say i’ll take it! Those are my tell tale signs that we wont have a good fit for the next 12 months.

  • John

    I disagree. It sounds like your saying going online is not the way to find a commercial or residential property for rent because the adds can be very misleading. Well 1 i do agree that adds can be misleading but really you have to give some responsibility to the person looking for the house. In online dating sites, its not like they are matched online and then get married right away. No they date for a few and test it out. Same thing goes for looking for a rental property. People need to do their research, find houses that look like they fit their criteria from sites such as and and then once they have a list of 10-15 good candidates (embelished or not) go and visit the property in person! You can see from there the true details.

    What you cant find out online or is somtimes left out is what is not covered in the lease such as things breaking in the house, etc. But still these are things that need to be left up to the consumer.

    Still the best place to start your rental search is by going online.

  • Susan

    Really? Isn’t this just basic business? My experience is immaculate property does little to attract compatible tenants. Background and credit check does usually, however, I have gone out on a limb with poor credit and a co signer, and she’s the best tenant ever. Sometimes you just gotta go with your gut. For some reason, I’ve had fabulous tenants now for over 12 years and several properties. Bottom line is everyone needs a roof over their head, but those that make it a home are often the best tenants.

  • Brenda

    Come on! A background and credit check will not guarantee a good tenant. I have done both and they have destroyed the apartment which had new cabinets, floors, appliances and everything else. They have been late on rent because they are paying all their other bills to keep that high score. Then I have gone out on the limb with someone who had poor credit. I required an extra month of security, co-signer and now he has been with us for 10 years and the best tenant you can ask for. Good credit is not always a good sign. It might help, but it is not the final answer to go with. Go with your gut feeling it will never let you down.

  • Sparks

    I agree that the article’s advise is rather simplistic.

    I look at the history of the tenat. How often have they moved? Can they fill out a detailed application listing contact info for past landlords?
    Are they agreeable to my visiting their CURRENT rent prior to their signing a lease?

    Here in Connecticut there is an online website for the state’s judicial department. There one can find small claims court cases, eviction cases, criminal cases and even family court cases. I find it more valuable in determining the stability of a tenant than a credit report.

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