Online rental applications: your tenants love them! If you’re feeling daunted by the difficulty of setting up online rental applications, keep in mind that it can be well worth the effort. Setting up online applications don’t just ultimately simplify things for you. It also makes things easier for your tenants. Many of the paper-filled processes of yesterday have been moved online: filing taxes; filing for divorce; planning a vacation. If you’re still using paper applications for your rental properties, you may find that you’re missing out on a number of key benefits of growing digital processes. Have you been on the fence about online applications? Consider these key benefits.
Reach a Larger Applicant Pool with Online Rental Applications
Sometimes, tenants looking at your property aren’t in your immediate geographic area. They might be moving to your area from another state, or they might be trying to find new living space from several cities away. Whether you live in a college town filled with applicants who are likely to only be with you for a couple of years or you live in an area where tenants are likely to stay long-term, you want to make sure that you have access to as many potential applicants as possible. When you put your application online, you make it easier for applicants to get in touch with you no matter where they–and you–are located.
Your online application and property listing will also make your property visible to a wider group of people. When you only post information about an open property locally, you may miss out on a wide range of applicants who are turning to the internet to locate their next rental property. 90% of home buyers, for example, will go online to search for their next property; and it’s safe to assume that tenants looking for rental property will turn to similar measures to find the property that’s right for their family.
Streamline the Application Process
How long does it take you to go through an average application? Do you want to be able to make it faster? Chances are you, like many other landlords, have more than enough on your plate already. When you opt for online applications, you can streamline the process. Make it easier to access each applicant’s information and ensure that all the relevant information is already attached so that you don’t have to worry about locating it in a stack of other papers or attaching late documents to a paper application later. Online applications just make your job easier–and that makes managing your property less of a headache.
Make Applying More Convenient for Potential Tenants
Tenants don’t necessarily look for their next home during traditional, convenient, 9-5 business hours–but they might. Sometimes, they’re sitting and browsing potential properties while sitting at their desk and work and waiting for their next assignment. Other times, they might focus wholeheartedly on those applications when they get home at the end of the evening and can sit down with their spouse. When you put up an online application, it’s available to potential tenants whenever they decide that they’d like to apply to rent your property.
Moving is a time-consuming and often expensive process. Potential tenants may be trying to juggle packing while managing their family’s busy schedule, including their usual work and school requirements. When you ask them to fill out a paper application, you require tenants to find time in their schedule to come to pick up that application, fill it out–which often requires them to gather other information or paperwork–and then drop it back off with you. That can take a chunk out of their day, often during business hours when they simply don’t have the time to spare. Online applications, on the other hand, remove the need to pick up or drop off the application, making things more convenient for both you and your tenant.
Attract Better Renters
Savvy renters are also the ones who are least likely to have extra time in their schedules. They’re eager to turn online in their search for a property to rent, and they know how to put in the effort to find great rental properties without spending too much time in the search. With your online application, you can attract those renters to your property. Ultimately, they may be better quality tenants who are more likely to pay their bills on time, take better care of the property, and give you adequate notice when they do decide to move out.
Have you ever been frustrated by the stacks of paper that seem to go with your work as a landlord or property manager? Do you have filing cabinets stuffed full of ancient paperwork that’s more trouble than it’s worth to go through or throw out? When you opt for online applications, you’re able to break the endless paper cycle and start generating online files. Not only do those files take up less space, they’re easier to organize and easier to manage. When you go to access important information, it’s all there at a few clicks of a button, rather than requiring you to spend excessive time digging through folders or towers of paper to find the relevant information. Better, digital files often stand the test of time better than paper ones, which means that you’ll be able to easily access even old information.
Make Your Efforts More Scalable
As a landlord or property manager, you may eventually want to branch out and take on more properties. You might want a larger multifamily dwelling, or you might look for more properties to add to your portfolio. If you’re still using paper applications and other processes, however, you may find that it’s very difficult to keep up with all of those processes. Turning online instead will allow you to more easily scale your business to bring in new properties, new tenants, and, ultimately, new income. Scaling down your operations as you age or to make it easier to focus on other things? It’s easy to reduce your online efforts while still maintaining your old records in case you need them in the future.