Nobody quite understands the challenges of being a landlord until they've been one. Finding ideal tenants is top priority, and it's not always easy. I've been for over 13 years now and have some crazy stories. In your search for tenants, you may be wondering whether it's better to rent to males or females.
First of all, don't rush the tenant screening process regardless of a tenant's gender. It can be easy getting tenants in, but it can be near impossible getting them out.
Time To Find An Ideal Tenant Again
One night back in 2010, I remember getting t a written notice in the mail informing me that my tenant of 2.5 years was moving back East. I wondered, how could he leave paradise to move back home to the sweltering heat of New Jersey?
I'll never know. Anyway, I was really sad to see him go because he was as close to the ideal tenant as possible.
Ned always paid on time. He was quiet, didn't have raging parties, and never bothered me to come fix anything. OK, so there were a couple times he needed an extra week or two to pay rent, but in the end he always delivered.
What I Look For In A Tenant As A 13-Year Landlord
I've learned a lot about the tenant vetting process over the years as a landlord. I currently own three rental properties in San Francisco, where I've lived for around two decades.
Here's a list of attributes I look for in a tenant when I'm reviewing rental applications. Note, my initial screening does not pay attention to whether or not I should rent to males or females.
- Great credit (680 or higher, and the higher the better).
- Not a psycho killer or a clearly mentally unstable person. You know the ones with crazy eyes when you talk to them.
- Has a stable source of income, which could include interest income if s/he has no job.
- Good prior landlord references.
- Has enough money in the bank to cover at least 18 months of rent if he/she lost their job.
- Longer than 1 year duration at his or her job. Longer the better.
- A pleasant demeanor, i.e. not an axe murderer or an asshole.
If a candidate possesses all of the above attributes, I'm more than likely to rent my apartment to them.
It's really not worth taking a risk on a poor tenant only to miss out on months of rental income due to non payment, or litigation!
Now, the next question I have is whether it's better to rent to males or females and whether it matters at all? Let's discuss.
Who Makes Better Tenants: Males Or Females?
As a landlord, all you want are three main things.
- On time payment
- Zero complaints
- Minimum wear and tear
In other words, if I could rent to a robot who doesn't have to move and always sends me a check electronically on time, that would be the best!
Dependability is pretty much a wash between men and women. Men are just as flaky as women. And women are just as dependable as men. Usually.
Actually, if I exam all the females I know, they are all pretty damn dependable. Whereas some of the guys I know just tend to be complete flakazoids who are never on time. OK, women are favored here 60/40.
Men tend to pride themselves on being able to unclog the toilet, change light bulbs, fix holes in walls, and paint. Women, typically not so much.
I've heard stories from other rental property owners where women will call their landlord to squash a spider. Come on now, a spider is like 1/1,000,000 the size of you! Men get the nod 70/30.
3) Wear And Tear
This is a tricky factor to determine whether it's better to rent to males or females. Men tend to enjoy throwing parties with lots of loud music and fountains of alcohol. For example, keg parties, strip parties, bachelor parties, birthday parties, you name it!
I rented my house to 5 guys once. It was a complete disaster. The neighbors constantly called me complaining about them throwing parties. They didn't abide by the lease terms on noise, staying off the roof, etc. And man were they total slobs. They stained and scraped the floors and walls, bashed a hole in the wall, cracked my tile floor, etc.
Not only that, they bought used furniture on Craigslist that was infested with bed bugs and then tried to blame me for the infestation. When I finally got them all out, I said never again!
Women don't throw ragers as often as men for some reason. Furthermore, it is the unmarried woman who tends to sleep over at the boyfriend's house more often than vice versa. Hence, there typically is less wear and tear if you rent to a woman. And therefore women are 70/30 favorites when it comes to wear and tear.
Related: How To Deal With Bad Tenants
Based on my three variables, there's no perfect answer on if it's better to rent to males or females. You may be having having trouble deciding which is the safer sex to rent to as well.
Women generally just seem so much more respectable and less violent. How many serial killers do you know are women? In the movie “Pacific Heights,” Michael Keaton was a man and not a woman.
My gut tells me women are better, but the funny thing is my last tenant of 2.5 years was a man, and he was great! Ultimately, you've got to look at your prospective tenants individually, regardless of their gender.
Do a thorough background check. Call and review all their references. Verify their employment. Have multiple conversations with them. Make them get renters insurance. And go with your gut. If they are annoying you from the beginning, they will highly likely drive you even more crazy over time.
* Please note that it is illegal to discriminate against a potential tenant based on sex, race, or creed. However, it is legal to ask a question and wonder out loud.
Here are some additional recommendations to help you save money and improve your financial health.
Refinance your mortgage
Check out Credible, my favorite mortgage marketplace where prequalified lenders compete for your business. You can get competitive, real quotes in under three minutes for free.
Mortgage rates are down to all-time lows! When banks compete, you win.
Explore real estate crowdfunding
If you're looking to buy property as an investment or reinvest your house sale proceeds, take a look at Fundrise. It's one of the largest real estate crowdfunding platforms today.
They allow everyone to invest in mid-market commercial real estate deals across the country that were once only available to institutions or super high net worth individuals.
Fundrise is the pioneer of eREIT funds and they are creating an Opportunity Fund to take advantage of tax-efficient Opportunity Zones.
Thanks to technology, it's now much easier to take advantage of lower valuation, higher net rental yield properties across America. I've personally invested $810,000 in real estate crowdfunding to earn income 100% passively. Fundrise is free to sign up and explore.
Sign up for the Financial Samurai Newsletter here.