You've put your rental unit on the market, crafted the perfect listing, and are anticipating a stream of interested tenants. As emails start pouring in, it's essential to prepare to onboard your dream tenant. By taking the right steps, you can establish a positive landlord-tenant relationship from the start. 

The following are some key steps to take as soon as a tenant requests a tour of the property. While your specific workflow might vary slightly from these tasks, this checklist can act as a guide as you orient your tenants. 

Show the apartment

An apartment tour is your first opportunity to leave a positive first impression on a potential tenant. Make sure that the apartment is clean and that you've made essential repairs before an interested renter shows up. Walk them through the apartment and be sure to answer all of their questions thoroughly. If they have concerns about certain cosmetic issues or repairs, reassure them that you will take care of the problem. This communication will show renters that you are accountable, and they may be more likely to ask for a rental application. 

Supply a rental application

Once a potential tenant says that they want to rent a unit, ask them to fill out a rental application. Plenty of online programs can make this process easy. You can ask about employment and income to ensure they have the resources to pay rent. Some landlords will also ask to contact previous landlords as a reference. Be sure to confirm their employment and the identities of their past landlords, to ensure that they are being truthful on the application. 

Run a background check

An individual may seem like a responsible tenant on the surface, but it's important to dig a bit deeper. Run a basic background and credit check as part of your tenant screening process. In the credit check, you can uncover their credit history and whether they have had issues paying bills and rent in the past. You can also discover any criminal history through the background check. Felonies in an applicant's past should be of concern, because a history of violent crime, theft, drug possession, vandalism, and similar crimes may disqualify someone from renting your apartment. 

Schedule a lease signing

If a tenant clears the screening process and produces a stellar background check, you might decide to rent out the unit. Contact the tenants to confirm their interest and invite them to your office for an orientation meeting. During this meeting, you should go through the lease agreement together and ensure that they understand each portion. Go over the rules of living in your rental unit, explain emergency procedures, and give them information about maintenance requests. Once they understand these details, ask them to sign the lease. You can also collect a security deposit. Make a plan to give them the keys once it's time for them to move in. 

Follow up

Once your tenants move in, give them time to get settled. Then check in to see how they're doing. Ask if they need any maintenance completed or if you can do anything to help them feel more comfortable. Even if they don't need anything completed in the apartment, your new tenant will appreciate your reaching out. By keeping in touch, you show that you want to maintain a positive tenant-landlord relationship and want them to have a quality living experience. 

As you rent to more tenants, you will streamline the renter onboarding process. All landlords have their own approach, but you should ensure that you give each tenant an exemplary experience. By doing so, you provide a positive first impression and establish open communication from the start.