This is the Part II of the my three-part series on tenant screening. Part I is here.
Step 2: In-Person Interview
Human beings are all biased by first impressions. While I understand the common caveats from the wrong first impression, I argue that you should follow your instinct methodically. That is, separate things that do matter for landlord-tenant relationship from those that do not.
For example, if a prospective tenant has a foreign accent, this should not impact your assessment of his/her eligibility. However, if he/she shows disrespect of your time, time personal space, or even insults you, that should raise red flags. By the same token, it does not matter if your applicant wear the latest designer brands or expensive jewelry. What’s more important is whether he/she is professional and takes pride in his/her appearance. If your prospective tenant is a mess, can you envision him/her to keep your rental property clean and orderly?
To weed out trouble tenants, you will be better off to have a list of criteria that matter to you ahead of time. This way, you can pay special attention to these traits while ignoring others. For example, if you want to have a tenant who is easy to communicate with, pay extra attention to this. If the tenant comes across as not charismatic or charming, you can easily ignore them while focusing on ease of communication.