Screening for Lonnie Deal Buyers

First off, I’m a newbie, so don’t flame me too hard. :slight_smile:

I’ve done a search of the forum for screening tools that others have had good luck with. It seems like is a favorite for people that will be leasing properties.

Is that an appropriate tool for screening buyers for Lonnie deals?

What are the main things you look for in a buyer, compared to what you would look for in a rental?

Are there any better companies out there for screening a buyer (vs. a renter)?




I don’t use a service to screen a buyer (other than the park) and have had good luck overall. For me I want a criminal report, a credit report and references including that last couple of landlords.

Now as far as the criminal report make them get it. This is a bit of a test becuase if they can’t do this then they will not work out as your buyer. On the criminal report you want to just make sure they are pretty clean but they don’t have to be squeeky clean. For me I work in parks that will not allow anyone with a felony conviction so that is my rule as well (with one exception so far that actually worked out great… but thats another story). I would also not take a buyer who has any history of domestic issues as that is a big red flag.

As far as the credit report just expect it to be bad. The majority of lonnie deal buyers are in their current situation because they cannot take care of their credit. What you want to look for is someone who does not have a history of running debt up and running away (ie bankruptcies). But the caveat to that is medical bills. I love buyers who have only medical bill issues on their credit report because face it we are all going to do whatever it takes to take care of ourselves and family medically even if we cannot afford it.

Now references are also very important as they can let you get a feel about the buyer as far as how they pay and who they are. I learned the hard way to always call previous landlords and get their input on the person.

Overall these things though are just tools to getting the right person as a buyer. Personally I go with my gut more than anythiing with guidance from these tools. I also completely agree with Lonnies advice that you want to get someone who is happy to be getting into your home. If it is a move up for them then they will do what it takes to keep the situation going.

Just my thoughts,


Hi Dave,

I’m in Columbus and follow Jad’s rules for the most part. I have the park screen them while I pull their credit and verify employment. If the park approves them we are good to go. As an added bonus, the county municipal courts have a website down here that you can search for prior criminal records, judgements, evictions, etc, so I don’t make my buyers jump through that hoop (yet). Most buyers have crappy credit, so you are really looking for steady employment and income. Like Lonnie says, go with your gut. The worst thing that can happen is you get the home back and you can re-sell it. What part of Ohio are you operating in?

Brian in Columbus

(reposted from an earlier thread on another message board)


  1. EVERY person over 18 who will be living in the home must fill out an application. Whether I run everyone

Hi Brian:

I’m setting up shop in Cleveland.

I still have SO much to learn, but everyone here is so giving from their knowledge.



We started in the business 10 years ago with apartments in multi-family houses and therefore joined the local Apartment Landlord Association - being a member gives us access to use their screening system, which includes credit reports and judgments that have been registered by the local courts. We’ve continued to use this service now that we are in the MHP business.

You wouldn’t believe the nice applicants we meet who have great stories until we find how many other landlords they’ve stiffed with judgments that will probably never be collected. Funny - when we tell them that we will not rent to them, many are not surprised and probably figure that they will eventually find a landlord that either doesn’t know about this service or is too cheap to use it.

Long story short - do yourself a favor and get credit reports (as mentioned in other posts, we usually ignore medical and also cell phone entries) and whatever judgment reports you can get. If you can find a local or state Apartment Landlord Association, they can do all of this with one application submission and for a cheaper price than you can do yourself.