Prospective tenants are required to submit applications and it is easy for the reviewer of these applications to get quickly overwhelmed, especially in a densely populated area where applicants are plentiful. Therefore, optimizing an application review process is of great importance. It can be difficult to know where to start, so here are a few ways to revise your application review process.
The application itself
Generally, an efficient application review process deals with time management and the proper sorting of paperwork. An application should make sure that the information vital to properly sorting it is clear to both the applicant and the reviewer. Example information that an application should clearly display includes smoking tendencies, history of bankruptcy, number of references, and felonies, It should be noted that these are all qualities that could affect the viability of a potential tenant as a client. This information can be used for reference on your first scan through the application pile, during which the applications should be sorted by applicant viability. While sorting through applications in order the second time around, a certain amount of time should be allotted for the review of a determined number of applications. There are also online rental forms that are designed to expedite this process if time is of the essence. Regardless of the method used, you should also be sure to account for the extra time it might take to contact personal references, if they are included. Taking a moment before starting a task to better organize it is usually well worth the effort.
Beyond the submitted application
The application process is not finished until the lease is signed. Even if a potential tenant appears to be promising, be sure to take a few precautions anyway. Screening an applicant is relatively easy with the appropriate and sometimes freely available software. Tools like Turbo Tenant are often relied on to ensure candidates are properly screened and that there are no areas of uncertainty. Another method of determining the viability of an applicant is to interview them in person. Show the applicant the property, ask them questions, and be sure to note anything that is inconsistent with their application. These questions can be almost anything relevant be they about meeting minimum income requirements or additional people who might share the rented space or even about why the applicant in question is moving. Examining a potential tenant’s eviction history will be particularly helpful. Some people, known as “professional tenants,” will purposefully ignore rent payments and attempt to live on a property for as long as possible before they are evicted. Though you are required by law to consider each applicant equally, if you take your time and develop a consistent and thorough process that applies to every applicant, you should be able to weed out less trustworthy applicants.
Properly advertising your property is also important if you wish to ensure that you do not waste your time on misinformed applicants. Though the advertisement in question need not be functionally complete, it should list your contact information and the most important requirements for residing on your property. With the decline of newspapers, though, finding a website that can advertise your property in sufficient detail should be relatively easy. Commonly advertised requirements include pet friendliness, rent cost, deposit requirements, and provided utilities. Also be sure to include representative pictures of the property, as the size of a kitchen or bedroom can sometimes sway the opinion of a prospective tenant.
Sorting through a large number of applicants of any kind will certainly take a little bit of elbow grease. Even though it may be tempting to make the common mistake of accepting the first applicant you come across, it is even more important that you do not rush recklessly into a disadvantageous lease.