March 19, 2015
A Day in the Life of Your Prospective Tenant
All to often a great prospective tenant will start the application process after viewing an apartment, only to abandon the deal during the application process. Why don’t these prospects show more interest and commitment to closing the lease and become new renters with you?
Meet Sarah, a young professional searching for a new apartment. With a promotion and raise, she wants to move out of the ‘burbs, and into a neighbourhood closer to the downtown core. She called on Monday about a two-bedroom apartment to arrange an appointment the next day during her lunch-hour to see the rental unit.
She’s done her research, loves the neighbourhood and feels confident it’s a good fit. The location is close to friends and lots of little cafes, local shops and parks. And, as it is five minutes away from the subway line, it means less travel time to get to work.
Sarah arrives on time, sees the rental unit and learns about the building’s amenities. (There’s even storage for her bicycle – bonus!) Although enthusiastic about signing the rental application, Sarah needs to get back to work and asks the property manager to email it to her.
The Paper Trail
Wednesday morning, Sarah is happy to see the rental application in her inbox, but unfortunately discovers that the PDF can’t be completed on her computer; she’ll have to print it out, fill it in and rescan it. She calls to find out if there is an online application she can complete instead. The answer is “Sorry, but no.” Back to the form she goes.
As she’s completing the forms, she realizes that she’s stuck. Her paystubs and bank statements are at home, and she doesn’t want to bother her new boss or HR to get an employment letter on company letterhead. Okay, she’ll grab her paystubs and bring them in tomorrow to photocopy them.
The next day, Thursday, she photocopies the paystubs and notices that the rental application cannot be returned by email, but needs to be faxed back to the property manager’s credit department. Frustrated, she turns to her co-worker and says, “Seriously, who faxes anymore?!” Just then her phone rings; a friend has called to tell her about an apartment has just become available. And, guess what? You can apply online.
Benefits of Online Applications
These days, most of us, including prospective tenants like Sarah, rely on the Internet for speed and convenience in everything from banking to shopping. Our reliance on paper and systems that put a fax machine in every office have faded quickly. For property management companies, the move to cloud-based services is a natural and efficient update to old-fashioned manual paperwork and faxing.
With easy-to-use online forms, prospective tenants simply complete the application online, 24/7, wherever they happen to be on whatever device is convenient – including their smartphones.
Mandatory form fields make it impossible to submit incomplete information, which can slow down the rental process. And, applicants can upload additional files, like a photo of their proof of income. The submitted application triggers an automated credit check, and the whole process can be carried out quickly and easily.
The flexibility of a web-based platform gives prospective tenants the convenience they want. For property managers and landlords, it reduces headaches that come with managing incoming documentation from a variety of sources.
Speeding up the rental process by eliminating repeated faxing, scanning and emailing is good for everyone, including Sarah. How would an online application system improve your rentals?