Author Topic: Finding new tenants - background/credit checks  (Read 1549 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 20
Finding new tenants - background/credit checks
« on: May 04, 2015, 02:21:44 PM »
Quick dumb new guy question. . .if you dont want to go through a realtor to find tenants, what company or service do you use to run a background check/credit check on potential tenants?  What are the costs involved?  Just trying to find a better way that to pay a real estate agent AND a prospective tenants agent a huge fee for signing someone new


  • Stubble
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  • Posts: 178
Re: Finding new tenants - background/credit checks
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2015, 03:53:19 PM »
I've used a TransUnion service called my smart move.  You can pay for the service or have the prospective tenants pay for it.  I generally collect a application fee that cover about 1/2 of the fee (which last time I used it was ~$30 for background and credit).  The credit checks seem to be thorough enough for my purposes.  I'm not sure about the background checks and how comprehensive they are.  I haven't had any hits on those, so I guess that's good, but not sure about missing records and/or your local area.


  • Bristles
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  • Location: Twin Cities
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Re: Finding new tenants - background/credit checks
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2015, 04:03:19 PM »
I also use mysmartmove -  I have the tenants pay the entire $35 via their own credit/debit card so it's really nice that I don't touch the application fee - I have the system send them an e-mail to initiate the background check.

I really like the credit portion and have had a number of criminal offenses show up - even speeding tickets from other states.

To advertise my units I use and craigslist (using the template created out of postlets). Postlets is free and puts your place on the major real estate websites like zillow, trulia and hotpads. I probably get about 50/50 leads out of craigslist vs. zillow/trulia but I think the zillow/trulia ones are more often higher quality.


  • Bristles
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    • No Nonsense Landlord
Re: Finding new tenants - background/credit checks
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2015, 06:59:05 AM »
I use to run my checks.  ~$40.  That includes credit, criminal, past landlord checks and employer checks.  The tenant pays the $40.

Be sure to do a county level criminal check, not a "nationwide check" which is not worth .02.

Know what tenant criteria you are looking for, BEFORE advertising.  Credit score, income, criminal history, and rental history.

Rely on credit score first, income second, rental history last.

I use, craigs, and (sometimes, it's ~$109).

I typically have to fill 10-12 apartments a year.