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A reporter raises his hand to ask a question as U.S. Army Gen. Ray Odierno, Commander of U.S. Forces-Iraq, delivers an operational update on the state of affairs in Iraq during a press briefing at the Pentagon, June 4, 2010.  DOD photo by Cherie Cullen (released)
A reporter raises his hand to ask a question as U.S. Army Gen. Ray Odierno, Commander of U.S. Forces-Iraq, delivers an operational update on the state of affairs in Iraq during a press briefing at the Pentagon, June 4, 2010. DOD photo by Cherie Cullen (released)

7 Must Ask Questions for your Potential Renter

Getting your renter to talk is important.  The more you know about them, the better you will be at making a decision to find the right person.  Here are 12 Must Ask Questions in the interview.

  1. Where do you work? Finding out what they do will give you a sense of income.  If they work at McDonalds, you might struggle to get your rent.  If they are a mortgage broker, they might skip a month and be able to pay two months plus late fee because they work on commissions.
  1. How long have you worked there? Job changes are becoming quite prevalent these days.  Forbes magazine reported in 2012 that the average Millennial will stay at their job 4.4 year.  That means they will have 15-20 jobs in their lifetime.  What you don’t want to see is job changes every 4.4 months.
  1. What are your hours? You will want to know if the renter is working odd hours.  If you hear your front door open and close at 1:00am, you want to know that it is your renter and not an unexpected guest.  Keep in mind that a second or third shift renter will be using the kitchen, shower, restroom and laundry during odd hours.  If you are a light sleeper, this is something to keep in mind.  Also, if you normally turn the thermostat up during the day to save on electricity, a second or third shift renter may require you to run the AC nearly 24 hours a day.  Keep in mind this extra expense and charge accordingly.
  1. Have you rented a room in a home before? This will give you an idea of whether the person is familiar with the social norms that are involved in renting a room in a home.  You need to know if you are renting to a newbie.
  1. Why are you renting a room? Common answers are often financial or new to town due to job change.  Neither of these should scare you.  Many people today are living paycheck to paycheck and renting a room is a very cheap way to provide shelter and safety for themselves.  Somebody moving to town does suggest that it may be a short term rental.  They want to get the lay of the land before committing to a 12 month apartment lease or buying a house.
  1. Do you have pets? Pets are always a sticky issue.  You likely have already resolved this issue in your initial advertisement, so there is no surprise on the part of the renter if you do or do not allow animals.  Also, you will want to be aware of the possibility of conflict between your pet and theirs
  1. Are you able to live by the House Rules? Getting a verbal commitment and a signature acknowledging receipt of the rules is a must.  You want to hear the person say in their own words that they will be respectful and courteous to you and others in the house.  By agreeing to abide by the rules, they display

Remember, let them talk.  Don’t interrupt.  The more they talk, the stronger your sixth sense.

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