When screening applicants, do you use a Debt To Income calculator?
If you don’t, then you should!
I just had someone apply for a rental home. He currently owns a home and will be closing on it in a couple of weeks. He told me told he tried to buy a house but had been turned down due to an old bankruptcy. That didn’t make sense to me but I told him to fill out the request to see my vacant property and to answer the pre-screening questions that would be emailed to him. Once he did that, I told him I would get him in to see the home.
This happened Friday late in the day. I checked for his responses over the weekend but he didn’t request to see the property. I assumed he had moved on. Monday morning, I received a notice that I had received an application for my vacant property. When I looked at it, the application was from the person I spoke to on Friday.
Keep in mind, he did not follow directions and fill out the request to see the property and he didn’t answer the pre-screening questions. He also has not seen the property.
I reviewed his application and ran his credit. It is interesting to note that the credit screening report listed him as APPROVED. There were only two items in collections, one item past due and the rest of his debt was paid on time. His credit wasn’t terrible and his credit score was 585.
When I reviewed his application, I noticed right away that he had four bills listed that he owed. I ask every applicant to list what they owe monthly for bills.
- Car payment: $400
- Car Insurance: $133
- Cell Phones: $120
- Child Support: $425
- Monthly rent: $1,200
Total Monthly Debts, including the rent, are$2,278. This does not include gas, electric, water, fuel for his vehicle, food and entertainment.
His monthly gross income was listed as $3,900 and his net was $2,859.40
When you subtract the debts from the net income, you are left with $581.40 to pay all other bills for the month.
I use a Debt to Income calculator and when all of the numbers were put in the calculator, his debt to income ratio was too high. This applicant could not afford this rental home and was denied.
I run across too many landlords who don’t follow all of the steps when screening applications. This guy seems very nice but he is desperate to move and isn’t using his own good judgement. If I let him move into this home, the chances are high that he would not be able to pay the rent.
If you want to find great tenants, follow a system and don’t make exceptions. Follow a process and follow every single step.