It’s almost 2016 and you’re still sorting through piles of paper rental applications, trying to make sense of what property each application expressed interested in. You’re likely driving around with our clipboard and then asking these applicants to either snail mail you the rental application or fill it out on the spot at the apartment showing. It’s a hassle, to say the least! By the time you get back to your office – you now have to file the paperwork and then start the tedious process of running a background check on each of the applicants. Worst part is that you have to manually re-enter and type this information back into a system to run a background check.
Fast forward and join the club of landlords, property managers, and landlords who are now taking full advantage of an online rental application to collect applicant information. With an online rental application, you can eliminate double entry from paper rentals apps and expedite the applicant move-in process. Imaging an easy 3-step process that starts with giving the applicant your unique link that they can start filling out electronically. You can text this link to them, or email it to them. The applicant can pull up the electronic app on their smart phone, or they can do it directly from their computer. Either way, it’s easy for them to start the process. Once the applicant hits “send” on that app, you have the option of asking them for a credit report or background check. If they consent to allowing you to run these, you can use the information from the rental app to kick off the national background check and then pull the applicant’s credit report. The final step is to decide whether the applicant is well suited for the apartment you are showing. In another click, you can convert the rental app into a state-specific lease agreement and then ask them for digital signature.
There are many tools available on the Internet that allow landlords to move beyond the days of paper rental applications. Anything that streamlines the Landlord-Tenant experience helps real estate investors reduce headaches and save money. Searching through stacks of rental applications is easiest when they are digital. Of course, you can always scan-to-PDF on those paper rental applications, but who has the time to scan everything? Online forms are the way to go, but just make sure that your tool of choice provides an end-to-end user experience for your applicant. The easier you make it for them to apply, the quicker you get the app fee, and the faster you can fill that apartment and have cash start coming into your account.
As a real estate investor and landlord myself, I know the perils that come with finding another tenant when one decides to end their lease. It’s a little nerve wracking, but if you have the right processes and tools in place from the start – you can see how easy it will become. This will give you confidence to grow your rental property portfolio even more and expand your cash flow opportunities.