1) never sign a lease until after everything else is done...once that lease is signed if the tenant doesn't pay me another dime I cannot stop them from moving in and then I still have to go through the expense of an eviction.
2) Never hold a unit unless I get 100% of the deposit in cash FIRST..and give out a receipt that clearly states it is a "RESERVATION FEE"...non refundable.
3) Never hand over the keys until all of the following is complete: Verify all utilities in tenants' name. full security deposit, first month, and last month paid in cash. Complete walk thru done in writing. Addendums and lease signed.
the three most important things to do: screen, screen, screen