My husband and I love being landlords, and our newest niche is allowing leases from tenants who are willing to rent sight unseen. Even though we are willing to allow it, I found out from calling around that most companies will not allow these type of leases.
For us, it is another way to serve our customer base as 5 out of 8 of our leases over the past two years have been from renters willing to sign a lease on our house sight unseen. Since my husband is active duty military, we have come to understand the value of long distance sight unseen leases.
At the same time, there are unique challenges and liabilities that are created and this is probably the reason why many companies do not allow this practice. However, since it’s just me and my husband we are able to do sight unseen lease and we have the capabilities of doing everything over the phone.
4 Steps to Establishing a Sight Unseen Lease
1. Do the Application, Background Check, and Credit Check: We do our application, background check, and credit check online. We have our tenants scan or take pictures of their licenses and email us their pay stubs.
2. Send a Copy of the Lease: Next, I email the potential tenants the lease. After they have had a chance to read through it, I go through it step-by-step with them so there are no issues later. I also have them fill the lease out in their handwriting. This helps make sure they notice and acknowledge all the nuances.
3. Add a Sight Unseen Clause and/or a Buy-Out Clause to the Lease: This sets expectations from both sides and protects you in case the tenant doesn’t move in or decides to change their mind.
4. Ask for a Deposit: We require the funds be posted before the tenant arrives.0