Processing rental applications is a tedious but necessary part of property management. As your portfolio grows, so will the volume of applications to process. Optimizing this workflow can save time and help your team weed out the right candidates more quickly. It’ll also improve the experience for your applicants, which can help you develop strong, positive relationships with tenants right from the start. If your application process isn’t where it should be, here’s how to make it more efficient and effective.
Be strategic about your questions.
By asking the right questions upfront, you can essentially narrow down the pool of candidates before your team ever even touches a single application. Not only will this save time for your employees, but it’ll also enhance the experience for applicants who won’t have to waste time on a lengthy screening for a property that isn’t a good fit for them.
Start with the basics of:
- Current Address
- Social Security Number
- Employment History
- Rental History
Then, expand into a few more qualifying questions, such as:
- How many residents will be living at the property?
- Do you have pets (and if so, how many)?
- Do any of the proposed residents smoke?
Feel free to expand on these questions to suit your specific property and needs.
One important thing to note is that you’ll want to be careful that your questions do not violate any fair housing rules or regulations. For instance, asking about disability status could potentially land you in hot water if you’re not careful. We recommend consulting with a legal expert to ensure compliance.
Offer digital options.
By allowing interested parties to securely complete the application process online, you’ll automatically make life easier for your staff. They can access and review applications from one central dashboard, and approve or reject with ease. The status of applications can also be ascertained at a glance. Likewise, your applicants will appreciate the convenience and ease of being able to submit their requests electronically.
Provide instant and automated updates.
One of the foundations of tenant satisfaction is good communication. Again, you can set the tone for this right out of the gate by using technology to keep applicants in the loop. You can (and should) set up a structured workflow for each step in the process.
For instance, once an application is initially submitted, an email is automatically triggered to confirm receipt and set expectations. Additional notifications should follow when the application is being screened and whether they’ve been rejected. Approval emails should congratulate the applicant and provide details about next steps, such as the deposit and lease signing process.
As a property manager, processing rental applications will always be an essential component of the job. By simplifying the process and leveraging digital tools, you can create a much more efficient and positive process for everyone involved.