All landlords should be embracing the internet and taking advantage of all the free tools out there! EVERY landlord can prosper through the internet in one way or another; some times it’s just a case of thinking outside the box!
Facebook isn’t designed to be a human directory, but that’s what it effectively is, and that’s what makes it an extremely powerful referencing tool.
Initially, I only used Facebook for what it was designed for, to stalk hot slutty local girls and build a library of masturbation material. But these days I find myself using Facebook for all other kinds of creepy shenanigans, including one of my methods of referencing tenants.
It’s pretty easy to track down prospective tenants on Facebook. For example, if I put an advert on Gumtree, applicants most commonly send enquires through email, which gives me access to their email address. Then I just copy/paste their email address into the Facebook search, and et voilà. Well, it’s et voilà 9 times out of 10 – it’s rare that 0 search results are returned. I don’t think I need to discuss how popular Facebook is; every man and his dog has an account.
If 0 searches are returned, I search for the applicants name (if they provide their full name). If the name is not particularly common, they’ll only be a few results, and then I try to filter the results by location.
Why is referencing prospective tenants by Facebook useful to me, as a landlord?
1) I successfully found an applicant on Facebook last week. It turned out that we had “mutual friends” – I know the mutual friend quite well, so I contacted him to get a character reference of the applicant. You can’t beat a character reference from a personal friend.
The property I’m marketing is in a small, local town (population of 80,000), so everyone is usually linked somehow.
2) If a Facebook account isn’t heavily restricted, you’re able to view the user’s pictures. If possible, I scour through the pictures and start making judgments based on their social surroundings and behaviour.
Ignorant and judgemental? Yeah, probably. But wouldn’t you judge if your tenant had pictures like this…
3) Most Facebook users are “fans” of particular groups/pages. Again, depending how the security is set on the profile, you can usually see which groups/pages users are members of. Pay attention to what they’re subscribing to, because they may have legitimate attachments with the BNP, The EDL and/or a sheep shagging society.
Yeah, so next time you get someone applying to be a tenant, see if you can track them down on Facebook to get a closer look at their life!
Oh, word of warning. This can work both ways. Tenants can just as easily track down landlords. If my prospective tenants saw my Facebook profile, they’d probably never apply…