The interview with your renter is where you start the decision making process of whether you should invite them into your home. You will want the short time you spend with them to be relaxed and comfortable. But there are several things to remember.
1 – The Interview is about them – not about you. As humans, we have a tendency to want to talk about ourselves. We are often under the delusion that a complete stranger is interested in what we have to say. Your main focus is to discover things about them. The more they talk, the more they reveal about themselves. And the more your sixth sense will tell you whether this is a good fit for your home or not. Ask questions…lots of them. The more they talk, the more you know. Do they speak endlessly? Maybe you don’t want Chatty Cathy in your home. Are they monosyllabic? Maybe a mute hermit is perfect for you. Let them tell you about their lives, their job, their family, their friends and their hobbies.
2 – Communicate your information clearly and concisely. There should be no ambiguity on your part when it comes to what you want to communicate to them. They need to be clear on the amount of the rent and deposit, the due date for the rent, penalties for late rent, house rules, parking, etc. You must make a list and go over this list with them. Give them a copy so that there is no misunderstanding in these matters.
3 – Watch their body language. If you ever shopped for a new home before, you will remember what it was like walking into each of the homes. There were those that you knew immediately upon entry that this home was not for you. Sometimes you were not able to come to a conclusion until the full tour. Sometimes you loved it only to find the kitchen was too small. Your potential renter will be experiencing the same things. Watch their body language while looking through closets and bathrooms. Listen to the tone of their voice. Take note of their questions. If they appear to want to leave quickly, it may just not be a good fit for them.
4 – Don’t be desperate…even if you are. Desperation is easy to spot in a person. It is a nearly palpable air about a person. You must remain all business. This is a business transaction. Desperation gives the renter the upper hand in the negotiation and they could further hold you hostage in some way in the future. Do not be sucked into a business deal that you will later regret.
5 – Trust your Sixth Sense. There is a God-given talent within each of us to sense things about people. But it requires us to listen to their words. Look in their eyes and watch their body language. If you feel the slightest discomfort or reservation when speaking with a potential renter, listen to yourself. You will rarely go wrong.