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tenant application check

How To Check A Background For A Tenant

Property rental involves two parties: the tenant and the landlord. Both have different interests yet share the same objective. A tenant wants to find available property with the qualities that would best fit his needs and budget. A landlord wants to find the tenant who would best attend to the needs and preservation of his property. If a tenant does an inspection on the property before making an offer, a landlord would check the background of a tenant before accepting an offer.

Why You Need to Check the Background of a Prospective Tenant

For the owner of the property, leasing provides a stable means of generating income on his asset. If the property was acquired through a lending program, leasing would be a smart way of financing the loan without compromising your cash flow. It is important to keep repair and maintenance costs down in order to preserve the profit margin on the rental property.

The Residential Tenancies Act 1987 gives tenants a high level of security and protection. Under the Act, a tenant who pays rent in exchange for the rights to occupy residential premises has exclusive possession of the property. Exclusive possession means the right to exclude others including the landlord from entering the premises.

Thus for property owners, granting a tenant exclusive possession on their property is a big deal. You are turning over the use of your asset to someone you don’t know. Once the rental agreement is signed and the keys are turned over, you have no idea what goes on behind closed doors.

What if the tenant has a history of fraud? What if he or she deals in drugs? What if the tenant is a licensed sex offender? Looks can be deceiving. Speculation may border on paranoia but you should consider all possibilities when it comes to protecting your asset and livelihood.

How to Check the Background of a Tenant

Although the housing market for Australia has softened, demand for rental property remains high because of tight supply and a rapidly increasing population. It is a good time to be renting property. For sure, you will generate serious interest from a wide range of prospective tenants.

Chances are your property would attract interest from more than one tenant. Property managers or landlords might find their hands full and their time tied verifying each and every applicant.

But conducting a background check on the tenant is a very important part of the leasing process. It may not be as difficult as you think provided you have the necessary system in place to carry it out.

Here are a few tips on how to check the background of a tenant:

1. Require every applicant to fill out a rental application form

This should be a prerequisite in the lease process. If you don’t have your own form, you can download templates from the Internet.

The rental application form should ask the prospect to fill-out the following information:

  • Full Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Current Address
  • Previous Address
  • Current Employer

2. Ask all applicants to provide additional documentation

The rental application form may not be enough to verify the identity of the prospect. You should require all applicants to submit the following supporting documents:

Copy of Valid Passport or Driver’s License
Bank References
Credit Card References
Proof of Employment (Certification or Pay Slips)

3. Ask all applicants to execute a Privacy Consent Form

This document allows you to contact all the references provided by the applicants. The references should include previous landlords. If the applicant gives you references, don’t just set these names aside.

Be proactive and give them a call. It is highly possible that the applicant has advised his or her references to expect a call from you. So you should be ready with your list of questions.

4. Invite the applicant to an interview

Remember that this person could be the one you would be interacting with for the next few months. You should find out as much as you can about the candidate.

Most importantly, use the interview to assess if you will be comfortable with him or her as a tenant. Among the questions you should ask are as follows:

  • “Why did you decide to move over here?”
  • “What is your typical day like?”
  • “Do you have pets?”
  • “Will anyone else be living with you?”
  • “Do you smoke?”
  • “Are you the type who frequently hosts parties?”
  • “Do you allow friends and family to sleep over?”

5. Use online background checking services

There are many reputable online companies that offer tenant application checking services on prospective tenants. These companies are highly experienced and are experts in conducting background checks.

The usual suite of services includes the following:

  • Identity Verification
  • Tenant Tica and VEDA Screening
  • Bankruptcy and Court Record Check
  • ASIC Company Directorship Check

Their findings are cross-checked across a large spectrum of data bases to ensure accuracy of all information. The services are easy to use. All you need to do is upload the tenant application form and they will do the rest.

Some of these companies are fast but precise. You can get a full report within 4 hours.

It may seem tedious and for sure involves a great deal of time and effort. But rest assured it will be all worth it. At the end of the day, finding the right tenant becomes a question of trust. If you don’t check the background of the tenant, you could be signing away your future.

real estate virtual assistant

Where And How To Hire Good Real Estate Virtual Assistants

Real estate is one of the best investments you can ever make. Land appreciates over time and its return on investment will depend on factors such as ongoing development, potential for improvement and level of interest. Agents are highly knowledgeable on evaluating the viability of property. Coincidentally, that same intelligence and approach to analyzing real estate is needed to know where and how to hire good real estate virtual assistants.

Real estate is an industry that is process- driven. Whether you are a buyer or seller of property, you should be familiar with the different stages of the transaction and current legislation in the city state. This is why people who want to engage in the real estate market go to an agent. They have the experience to guide you through the process of acquiring or selling property.

This is also why an agent’s agenda is usually packed with “things to do”. You could be scheduled to meet with clients, arrange site visits or inspections, negotiate contracts and verify land titles. In between, you may be taking in calls, checking e-mails, firming up your calendar and updating records.

A career in real estate can be rewarding if you are able to attend to all the tasks that need to be done. And this is where a real estate Virtual Assistant can be of great use.

With a Virtual Assistant, you can delegate the non- core functions so you can allocate more time and resources to the activities that directly contribute to the growth of your real estate career. These non- core functions include:

  • Administrative Duties
  • Marketing and Promotional Work
  • Sales Support
  • Back Office Work
  • Customer Service

But not all virtual assistants are productive. In an industry that has grown exponentially over the last decade, it can be assumed the level of talent has been diluted as more people enter the profession.

Where to Find Good Real Estate Virtual Assistants

“Location, location, location”. We’ve heard the same advice before. If you want your investment to pay out dividends, getting the right location is the key. The same can be said for finding good real estate virtual assistants.

If you are planning to hire people who work in the virtual world, the obvious first place to look is the Internet. There are many sites that you can visit online to find qualified candidates for your real estate virtual assistant position.

1. Virtual Assistance Agencies – Because of the consistently high demand for virtual assistants, more online agencies have come up in the last decade. Dealing with an online virtual assistance has the following advantages:

  • Available roster of virtual assistants to choose from.
  • References on each VA are readily available.
  • Wide variety of skill sets; agency can send you a shortlist of candidates who have experience working in real estate.
  • Periodically trained and oriented by the agency.
  • If arrangement doesn’t work out, agency can replace your VA with another one.

Be vigilante when dealing with agencies. There are always scammers in the Internet. Conduct due diligence work before reaching out to any agency.

2. Online Job Sites – If you are thinking about hiring a freelancer as your Virtual Assistant, online job sites can connect you with several qualified candidates.

Platforms such as Upwork, Guru and Freelancer function like marketplaces that bring clients and freelancers together. You post a job, candidates apply and you implement a selection process. If you want to hire fully trained real estate virtual assistants, is known to have some of the most affordable options.

The advantage of hiring through an online job site is that there are safeguards for both client and freelancer. As the client, you payment will be held in an escrow. It will not be released until you have approved the work of the freelancer.

3. Social Media – You can also find potential candidates on social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. LinkedIn is the best option as you can connect with people who have the skills you are looking for.

It is a professional networking site; you can view the online profile of a member. You can also join focus groups and ask for recommendations or simply post an inquiry on your home page.

You can likewise post an inquiry on your Facebook page and see which contacts can give you referrals. There are also focus groups for startups and entrepreneurs that you can join. You may find a community member who can refer you to a reliable real estate Virtual Assistant.

How to Hire Good Real Estate Virtual Assistants

One of the first steps in helping clients find their dream home is to come up with the list of qualifications:

  • Size of the home
  • Number of rooms
  • Proximity to schools, the CBD and commercial centers
  • Peace and order
  • Accessibility to transportation
  • Amenities and features
  • Price range

The same approach should be carried out when hiring your real estate Virtual Assistant:

  • Years of experience in the real estate industry
  • Language proficiency
  • Familiarity with project management programs
  • Ability to handle spreadsheet, word processing and PowerPoint work
  • Phone handling skills
  • Knowledge in social media, graphic design and MLS

In order to assess the candidate’s qualification, you should subject them to interviews, practical tests and a paid trial period. Come up with a grading system that applies a weight to each variable. For example:

  • Fundamental Skills – 30%; focuses on basic skill requirements of a Virtual Assistant like phone handling, e-mail filtering, calendar management and appointment setting.
  • Technical Skills – 30%; focuses on specific proficiencies like managing MLS, navigating through the Internet, preparing spreadsheets, handling project management and file sharing software among others.
  • Behavioral Profile – 40%; focuses on the key behavioral or personality traits that make the candidate a perfect fit for the job. It answers the question, “Can I work with the candidate?”Interviews, the paid trial period and psychological profiling tests can help determine if this is the candidate for the job. Another effective approach is to check the content of their social media accounts.

Finding and qualifying good real estate virtual assistants is similar to the process of determining the viability of a specific property. You should approach it with strategy, intent and purpose to make sure you can hire one who fits your needs and wants.

5 Smart Ways to Price Your Home for FSBO

5 Smart Ways to Price Your Home for FSBO

FSBO or For Sale By Owner is an approach to home selling where the property owner does not contract the services of a licensed real estate agent to preside over the sale. By foregoing the services of a real estate agent, the property owner effectively improves his or her net return on the sale of the home by 2% to 3%.

More home owners are choosing FSBO over the traditional approach of hiring an agent not only because of the promise of high returns. It is also an approach that is doable. Marketing and promoting your home will take the bulk of your time. But once this is ongoing, you should shift focus to coming up with the price.

Pricing can be a deal killer if it’s not done with thought, strategy and purpose. Here are 5 smart ways to price your home for successful FSBO:

Visit Online Home Valuation Sites

Online home valuation and dedicated For Sale By Owner sites are great sources for getting ideas on how properties in your area are being priced.

Some will provide with information on number of visits per area and average sale price all in comparison with national statistics. There are also online valuation sites that can give you an estimate on your property.

Use Comps

Comps are summaries that show comparisons on home prices over the last 6 months. You can purchase the information from real estate agencies or some online websites.

With comps, you have to find properties that have similar features to yours so you can have an idea on how much a home like yours is worth to potential buyers.

Attend Open Homes and Auctions

Open homes and auctions are great venues to get more concrete ideas on pricing. Talk to buyers and brokers and find out how they arrive at their purchasing decisions.

You will also get a feel of how a real estate transaction takes shape. You can observe and note down the typical behaviors of buyers when inspecting homes.

Hire a Property Appraiser

A good option is to hire a Property Appraiser to give you an assessment of how much your home would be worth in the real estate market.

It may cost you $400 to hire a Property Appraiser but in return you will get an authenticated document to support your asking price. Of course, be wary that buyers may have their own appraisers as well.

Contract the Services of a Desk Appraiser

A Desk Appraiser is a much affordable option than a Property Appraiser. He or she will not visit your home. Instead the Desk Appraiser will pull together a comp summarizing the sales prices of homes in your area within the last 6 months.

The Desk Appraiser will assign a range value and it will be up to you to figure out where your home falls in the price range. A Desk Appraiser will typically charge you $80.

The price of your home will determine whether you register a sale or you will stay in the property market longer. Keep in mind that it is better to have your home sold as quickly as possible in order to get the price you want. The longer it stays in the market the lower becomes its perceived value.

A good idea would be to hire the services of a Virtual Assistant with the experience and expertise in the real estate industry. The real estate VA may be able to put together comps, make a CMA or research pricing at online home valuation and FSBO sites.

When it comes to pricing, do not identify a price range based on how much you want to earn. It must have good basis and references in order to make it more realistic and enticing to prospective buyers.

8 Steps to Selling Your Own Home

8 Steps to Selling Your Own Home

Selling your own home will help you generate a higher return on your property because you don’t have to pay the real estate agent’s commission.

And it is not as difficult as you may think!

With a bit of planning and organization, you may sell your home faster than any real estate agent.

Write Down Your Home’s Selling Points

Conduct an overall assessment of your home and write down the features that would make visitors interested in buying it.

Among the important things to consider:

  • Swimming pool
  • Number of rooms
  • Number of toilet and baths
  • Size of garden
  • Capacity of garage

The idea is to pinpoint features and amenities that would make your house an attractive option compared to others in the neighbourhood.

Create Marketing Copy

Using the assessment you made on your house, try to create compelling marketing copy. This is not a particularly difficult task.

But if you are not confident of your copywriting skills, hire a Virtual Assistant.

Virtual assistants are highly skilled and proficient in creating marketing copy. They know the best keywords to use so your marketing copy can easily be found online.

Take Photos of Your Home

Good quality, high- resolution images are a great way to attract more interest in your home.

Hiring a professional photographer is always a good idea but they could be expensive.

If you have a friend who dabbles in photography in his spare time, ask him to take the photos as a way of getting more practice and experience.

Research Online for Comparative Pricing

Pricing is often the deal breaker in many negotiations. While buyers are open to adjusting their bids, your selling price must not be unrealistic.

You can check out a number of home value sites online to get an idea how much property in your area has been selling the last 6 months.

You can also ask a property appraiser to give you an estimate on your home based on current market values.

Sign Up in an FSBO Site

One of the most effective ways to get your house moving in the market is by listing it in a For Sale By Owner or FSBO site.

Thousands of people visit these FSBO sites to look for the best homes at the most affordable prices. You will definitely get a good number of visits in your FSBO page.

If you opt for the free membership, you will have to update the images and text content yourself. Or you could simply designate this task to your real estate Virtual Assistant.

Utilize Social Media

Find out if your neighbourhood has a community page in Facebook or other social media. Ask the administrator of the page if you could join the community.

It is possible that one of the members would know someone interested in buying a home in the neighbourhood.

Remember to link your social media page to your FSBO account.

Schedule Open House Visits

Open House visits can draw in a large number of interested buyers. Do the following before opening up your home for inspection:

  • Conduct general cleaning
  • Remove all personal items
  • Open up spaces
  • Have marketing materials printed out
  • Have the contract of sale ready

Be ready to negotiate at any time during the Open House. You should already have a price range in mind.

Create a Short List of Prospects

If your efforts have allowed you to generate a considerable number of bids, review all of them carefully and identify 3 of the best prospects.

Schedule a day in the week to meet with each prospective buyer individually.

When it comes to selecting the best bid, it’s not just the price that should be considered but also the terms and mode of payment.

It’s very important to keep in mind that it is best to sell your home within 4 months. Otherwise the perceived value may drop.

This is another advantage of selling your own home. You can devote 100% full attention while a real estate agent with all of his or her clients cannot do.