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blkang

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 
I own a multi-family and am not just renting out for the first time.  I need to run credit reports on my prospective tenants.  There are a slew of credit report companies on the internet and would like some pointers as to which ones are good, what I should watch out for, etc.  Any help would be appreciated. thx.
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,814
Reply with quote  #2 
You are right that there are a number of sites who will offer to run credit reports for you.  Look for one that can do multiple things.  Ideally, you want a site that will give you a credit report and score from at least 1 (if not all 3) of the credit bureaus, do address verifications, SSN verifications, eviction reports*, criminal background checks*, and be a site you can report the tenant's bad debts to the credit bureaus on.   

* means that not all sites are accurate on these.  The site is only as accurate as the info they can pull from their databanks and the on-line databases they have access to.  Some sites advertise that they have access to millions of records, but that doesn't mean they have access to the records in your area.  I always pull these myself and save the money.  A good site will let you purchase just the info you want, or will have a package deal at a lesser rate.

Some sites will make you jump through hoops just to qualify to pull credit checks.  Some will insist that they do an on-site inspection of your office to see if you qualify to pull the credit checks from them.  (You would need a room with outside access, a locked file cabinet, a password protected computer, and a paper shredder.)  Other sites ask you to fax in some documents to prove you have rental property, prove you are the owner, and that you have a legitimate reason for needing to pull these.   Some will charge you a fee to join, others will allow you to register for free and charge you only for the credit checks you pull.

You also want one that works fairly quickly.  Tenants will not wait days for you to verify their info.  They'll just go rent from someone else.

Personally, I use tenantverification.com  (TVS).  They can pull from as many of the three bureaus as I want, they verify the name, address, and SSN for me.  I can chose what services I want to pay for from a menu and pay by credit card over a secure site.  I also can report bad debts to the credit bureaus (not through them, but from a link on the right side of their screen).   I think this same link will go after the debts for me (for a percentage of the money, of course).  I have not used them for this.  There was no fee to sign up, I filled out some info on-line from a form and faxed them copies of some documents from their list.  I was set to pull reports the next day.   Reports print out in minutes  (24X7) and I can go back and look at them a week later if I need to.  There is also a good explanation of the credit reports (what all the codes mean), so even if you don't pull reports there, you may want the explanation guide.  (I do not work for, nor am I affilliated with this company.)

I use this service because I know it pulls reports from databases in my area.  You might want to ask local LLs, or someone from your local REIA about who they use to make sure it pulls from your local databases.  I hope this info helps.
boo

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Posts: 20
Reply with quote  #3 

I have actually started using a local company that does background checks for Landlords. (http://www.commercialinvestigationsllc.com/) They have this CIWare that I can log into and request background checks on tenants that I am interviewing. These background checks include criminal and financial. Only thing that they asked when I signed up was to fax them a copy of my deed so they can verify that I was the property owner.

I found this company through http://www.renttropolis.com?affid=7 which at this time they are working on intergrating the 2 systems so I can easily request these checks from both systems.

Now the cost of these checks are a little more than just a credit check but the way that I see it if I get a tenant in my property that I have a problem with. It could cost me thousands of dollars and a ton of my time to get them out. So the money that I spend upfront is well worth it to me.

OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,814
Reply with quote  #4 
Boo, are you from a large metro area?  If you are then that company may be just the ticket for you if it saves you an extra step.  Wish I could find one that would save me a step in this process.  The problem I have with big companies like that is that they don't check for info from databases from the smaller (or rural) areas.  That's the kind of area I'm from.  I've tried some of these big companies, but their reports just weren't accurate for this area.   They would miss criminal cases from the local court or would miss an eviction. 

One report I pulled missed all kinds of info - numerous disorderly conduct arrests, and an eviction.  I actually ended up renting to her since the report didn't show these.  I later found out (my attorney told me she had been evicted before) and I did my own checking.  When I ran my own, she had been arrested more than a dozen times! 

It is easier for me to just pull them myself from the web sites until I can find a company that will check these county and small city databases.  (Just a drawback from being from a small town I guess.)  No one checks these small databases.
boo

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Posts: 20
Reply with quote  #5 
OHlandlord,

I think that you would find it helpful to give them a call. They are a small but very effective company and if you tell them your concern they might be able to explain how they do this type of reporting. I am pretty sure that they handle smaller communities but you might want to give them a call they are extremely friendly.

Hope it helps
OHlandlord

Registered:
Posts: 3,814
Reply with quote  #6 

Thanks Boo.  I'd like to make screening applicants one step shorter.

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