When you work as a landlord, you learn very quickly that a large part of your life will be dedicated to reading applications for potential tenants. Whether you’re renting out a single home or numerous apartments, you’re almost guaranteed to have more applications than open properties. If you’re not careful, the work can easily become overwhelming. Here are a few pieces of advice for keeping this task streamlined and manageable.
First and foremost, it’s important to charge an application fee. Do some research to find out the average or expected fee in your area and apply accordingly. An application fee serves two purposes: it covers the expense of a credit check and it discourages people who know they won’t qualify from applying. It’s vital to include credit checks in your expense planning, so why not find a way to lessen your own fees? When you have open applications, you’re likely to receive a high volume of people who are applying everywhere and seeing what sticks, which doesn’t always bode well for finding a good tenant. An application fee will lessen the number of ill-suited applicants, which in turn will save you time.
Keep This Task Streamlined and Manageable
Once you’ve narrowed the field somewhat, it’s time to start reviewing the applications. You’ll quickly find that some applicants won’t fill out all the information or include all the requested documentation. This could be oversight, but it’s most likely intentional — they don’t fill out the information they don’t want you to know! Either way, giving all the applications a quick scan to determine which ones are complete and which aren’t will save you time, because it allows you to set aside or automatically reject the rental applications with missing information. If a tenant can’t be bothered to complete their application, they’re probably not a tenant you want to work with.
Now comes the time to uncover any red flags. If you’ve implemented an application fee and removed any incomplete documents, you can move on to credit and background checks. This will help you narrow the field even more, saving time that would otherwise be spent considering potential tenants that aren’t the best fit. An application can’t tell you everything, so make sure you don’t skip this step.
We offer a full range of screening services, but if you’re looking to keep your costs down, our RentalConnect program offers property owners and landlords a great alternative to tenant screening. This service requires no on-site visit, sign-up, or membership fees, making it extra convenient. The $29.95 service fee is paid by the applicant. Available 24/7, RentalConnect is fast, easy, secure, and delivers reports needed to make an informed decision, including a credit report, a national criminal search, and a national eviction search. For more information, please contact us anytime!
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