Monthly Archive December 3, 2018

How to Perform a Landlord or Realtor Background Check

You’ve found the perfect apartment or home and you love the neighborhood. The application has been approved, and you’re ready to sign as soon as the papers show up. Renting or purchasing a new home is an exciting experience, but don’t rush into the process because you’ve found the perfect home. Taking your time is essential to getting the best deal, and starting your research process with the landlord or realtor is the best way to go.


How much do you know about your soon-to-be landlord, management company, or real estate firm? A bad landlord can make or break a living experience, so it is essential to learn as much as you can about their building(s). Here are a few easy ways to check your real estate professional’s reputation before signing any documents.


Utilize search engines. A simple Google search of your landlord’s or realtor’s name, as well as the property address, will provide quite a bit of information. If previous tenants and clients have had a bad experience, they’ll likely post about it somewhere online. Check review sites like Yelp.


Search public records. Property information is often available via local government agencies, and you’re usually able to check for free. Your county courthouse should have ownership records searchable by address, so you can find out if your landlord owns the property directly or if they are acting in place of another professional. You can also search for code violations, foreclosure proceedings, evictions, and small claims court settlements—all of which should be red flags.


Get to know your future neighbors. If you’re moving into an apartment complex with multiple units (or a new development community), take a few minutes to walk around the grounds. If you see any other tenants or homeowners out and about, ask them about what it’s like to live in the facility. Be sure to ask how long they’ve lived there and how complaints are often handled.