Make note that there are several different search engines within Brazos County to help you pre-screen future tenants. It’s important to check these links each and every time you get an application. It may be foolish to let your guard down when leasing out one of your most important investments.
Justiceweb I’m not suggesting that you search every link for every potential tenant (though it doesn’t take long), because some of them are not as applicable to you as others. But I highly encourage you to save the Judicial Records Search and be cautious who you lease to.
Sheriff Jail Search is updated as soon as someone is booked into jail in this county. It shows you their latest address given to the jail and their latest mugshot, plus all the charges. Criminal Case and Criminal Hearing searches are not updated immediately and those search engines are designed to let the public keep track of where someone is in the judicial system once arrested.
J.P. Civil Search . This allows you to see if judgments against a person in the way of eviction, also called Forcible Entry Detainer, has occurred in this county. These eviction judgments are not posted on Justiceweb until the judge issues eviction after a civil court hearing. So, if the tenant is served with a hearing date for an eviction, and they move out before then, obviously, there will be no court date. When this happens, there will be no evidence of the problem tenant on J.P. Civil Search. So be aware. This group attempts to fill that gap among other loopholes that often allow you as landlords to get burned by low-quality tenants.
Yahoo Neighborhood Website for Bryan, TX owners and property managers. This site has a list of past tenants who have been evicted, skipped, done damage to a property, or bounced checks, etc…. It’s a good ‘DO NOT RENT TO’ list which was designed by officer Will Holt in the Bryan Police Department so that when one tenant does damage to a property, that they won’t be able to go across the street to another unsuspecting landlord and do it again. Once you have applied to gain access, you will be able to post to it. This site is well worth your time and it is updated regularly. Click on ‘Groups’ at the top, then ‘More’, then choose the database to the ‘Proceed with caution tenants’.
Your detective work may be made a little easier if you utilize Facebook and these other tools to help prescreen applicants.
“Generally people leave their pictures up and leave themselves unguarded. When you do your email pre-screen, most people give their real name. It’s very easy to look up a given name on Facebook. If you look up an applicant’s post on Facebook for instance, and they’re celebrating being clean X days with pictures of needles, you may find other posts which substantiate what you are really thinking.
The other thing about Facebook is that you can see applicants’ pets and get at least a good idea of how many people are in their family. If they post that they have three kids and they show pictures, then that unmasks the pre-screening claim that only two people will be living in the house. Hmmmm… Also, the gal that replied in this pre-screen questionnaire, said that she had an “English terrier” (which doesn’t exist). So of course it was obvious that it’s a pit bull mix.
If you’re not on Facebook, you might fake a profile so you can check these things! It’s also interesting to see their friends. It’s not necessarily about partying, just what’s acceptable among their group. You can see if the applicant is a gamer, a gangster, if they have dogs, and what clubs they belong to in some cases. For example, if the applicant is a biker enthusiast or sympathetic to questionable groups of your way of thinking. It could be very telling.
It’s my hope that all my investors will have a rewarding and satisfying experience as property owners. Prescreening is an important way to keep not only our properties safe and sound, but our communities as well.
I’m here if you need me.
‘Let Myke Help You With Your HOMEwork!’
Myke Leatham, Broker
Brazos County Realty, LLC
13464 I and GN Rd.
College Station, TX 77845
Email: [email protected]