Are you holding on to some real estate investments and thinking about renting them for a little while until the selling market improves? Depending on your personal situation, this may be the best avenue for you right now. Getting into the "landlord game" involves patience, perservance, and a good attitude on your part.
People rent for various reasons. Some rent because that's all they can afford, others rent because their life is in some sort of transition right now and they don't want to make any permanent decisions. There are good and bad potential tenants in both catagories and finding the best tenant for your property is paramount.
Here's a few tips on how to find the best tenant for you:
1. Check their credit, rental history, and employment. Less than perfect credit may show up immediately. This is not necessarily a bad thing if their rental history and references are good. Do they have steady employment or are they an "entrepenuer"? More and more people are finding new and creative ways (outside the traditional office) these days to earn an income. Don't necessarily rule them out. Are they paying their bills? If so, they may be a good choice.
2. Offer some sort of incentive for them to rent your property. In most geographical areas, there are many rental properties to choose from. What makes your property stand out? If there is nothing too obvious, create something. Some possibilities could be: one month's free rent, forgoing the usual upfront last month's rent, or add some type of improvement to the property.
3. Lastly, in order to find a good tenant you must be a good landlord. Treat each person with respect and dignity. After all they are your customers and deserve to be treated that way. Start out on the right foot and respond to their needs as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
Tenant / landlord relationships are much like any other relationship you have in your life. Treat others as you wish to be treated!