I told myself that I would be more picky the next time I interviewed tenants, but that didn't happen this time. I just can't stand looking for tenants. I'm not much of a people person so the thought of showing the house multiple times and fielding dozens of calls doesn't appeal to me. I didn't have to do a thing this time - the tenant found me. The reason I said I wanted to be more picky is because I was planning to exclude smokers and pets from future rentals. This tenant smokes and has a dog. I'll probably learn to regret moving so quickly, but the reason for doing so is simple: let's say it would take me one month to find my "ideal" tenant. That's one month of rent, $700, that I don't collect... and this is quite an optimistic assumption.
- Heads: My tenant is respectful to my home. He takes his dog outside before an accident, and he limits his indoor smoking. When he moves out, I steam clean the carpets, air out the house and clean the walls. Total cost: about the same as with any tenant.
- Tails: The tenant is a chain smoking idiot. He flings ashes onto the carpet and lets the dog do whatever it pleases. When he moves out, I have to replace the carpet, paint the walls and do a thorough cleaning. Total cost: about $1,000, plus my own labor.
Once again I'm flipping a coin and hoping it lands on heads. Sure, it could cost me in the end. But it feels great knowing I won't have to do all the work involved with finding a new tenant.