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Place Your Rental Application Online for Ease of Use

Deciding how to handle rental applications is a big deal for your business. While most looking and applying for apartments is done online, maybe you’re more old school and hesitant to handle it that way. Even so, it’s probably the best move for you to make. Here are the reasons why you should put your rental application online, rather in the offline, ink and paper world.

Easier and faster for tenants

Filling out a form by hand with pen and paper takes a fair amount of time. If you’re looking to pull from as large of a pool of applicants as possible, having a physical form is just one more obstacle that makes potential tenants not want to apply to rent your property. Saving that time and effort means you get more applicants and a better chance at finding just the right one.

Can sign the lease on your own time

Similar to the above, this is a matter of convenience. You and the applicant can both take a look at the lease, read through it and sign it when it works best for you. There’s no need to find a time where everyone can meet in your office and go over the paperwork. You’ll both be able to go over it in your own time and get it signed, again taking out a pain point that can lead to limiting the pool of potential tenants.

Less clutter around the office

If you use paper forms, your office is probably a mess. You have to keep everything filed, but much of it ends up spread out all over the place. While this alone won’t save you from keeping any paper forms, having an online application process will greatly cut down on the amount of paper you have to keep around, and can be one more step towards getting things under control. Even if you’re not actively concerned about the tidiness of your office, it is good to have one less thing to possibly worry about there.

Can reduce bias

The Fair Housing Act can be scary to landlords, even if you have perfect intentions. Any small difference in how you treat different applicants can become an issue, so you want to cut down on making any things different. Using an online application like this makes sure that you ask everyone the same questions, regardless of race, gender, disability, or any other factor. Making sure to ask everyone the same questions and making some of the process online and possibly automated lowers the likelihood of accidentally introducing any bias into the renting process.

Easy to confirm and document information

A good application system will keep an eye out for many potential problems: missing or incorrectly formatted information on the front end, and making connections on the back end. With a good enough system, it could automatically start to run background checks or confirm other information. The database created by the software will be more resilient than a file cabinet, giving your better documentation of everything that was submitted with the application.

Available anywhere with an internet connection

This is almost an extension of the above, but deserves its own point. Anywhere you can get an internet connection, you can possibly take a look at applications or the information submitted with them. Whether you’re on the other side of the world or just the other side of town, being able to check on any new applications, information from old ones or anything else you can think of is a huge benefit you’d never get any other way.

Low maintenance after setup

Sure, it’s a fair amount of work to get a system like this set up. Depending on what you buy and from where, you may need to spend a while getting things set up to look and function correctly, which may involve a lot of work yourself or hiring someone to do it for you. The big advantage is, once that’s all set up, you don’t have that much work to do in order to keep it running. The portions of it that work automatically will handle a lot of work that you’d have to do manually before and you really only need to change things when something breaks. Don’t let the amount of work it looks like you’ll have to do very soon get in the way of you having a better setup in the long run.

Don’t rely on just the application

As great as the online application is, you don’t want to be solely reliant on it. Even if it does more than just collect data and helps you to evaluate potential tenants, you still want to meet with them for some sort of interview. There are things that the application will miss, so you want to make sure to spend some time looking into it yourself. Use the two together to get as full of a picture of your potential tenants as you can.

Test it

Is this stating the obvious? Sometimes, that’s just necessary. Run a test on the system with your own information, get a friend to try it out with theirs, or both. The worst move you could make is putting the property on the market and not see any of the applications because you never tested to make sure that it’ll work. Test it, make sure it works, and see what it looks like on the other end.

Even if you’re hesitant about things, putting your rental application online can give you some really big advantages when looking for your next tenant. Try it and see how well it works. It may not seem ike a big thing, but it can make a huge difference to how you run your business.

Categories: Landlords

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About the Author
The managing editor of Apartment Guide and rent.com, Brian Carberry has more than 10 years’ experience as a content creator and award-winning journalist. Brian’s work has been featured on CNN, Search Engine Land, Randstad and a number of other organizations around the world. In his free time, Brian enjoys sports, cooking and debating the correct pronunciation of “gif.”