Many landlords are intimidated by the internet. At least by using it for new business related techniques. Property management has for years relied upon paper rental applications and this makes many landlords hesitant to switch to online rental applications. You should stick with what you know, right?
Wrong! It’s not always a bad idea to stick with tried and true business methods (sometimes it is preferable), but in many cases, new business methods must be taken into consideration. Online rental applications are one of those.
If you have read any of the other posts on this blog, then you know that online rental applications have many benefits. They are cheaper, more time effective, and will bring you more applicants. They are also easy for both your tenants and yourself.
The ease at which online rental applications can be filled out and turned in for review is one of the main reasons that they are so important for any landlord. They make a tenant’s life easier which makes them more likely to apply for your unit. The more applicants you have the choosier you can be with who you rent your apartment to which hopefully leads to completely reliable tenants.
Many landlords still feel intimidated by online rental applications. They don’t really know where to get started and fear that the time that it takes them to get set up with an online application will far outweigh the extra time that paper applications take.
This isn’t the case though! Sure, setting up an online rental application for the first time might take an hour or so, but after it is set up, the entire application process for your units will be a breeze.
There are several online companies that are currently offering online application systems. These allow you to keep track of all of your units and applicants in one handy place. Most of these companies are still new, so there isn’t a lot of definitive data on which is the best, though all of them look reliable and like they make the rental process much easier.
Future posts on this blog will rate the best of these online apartment application companies/websites so that you can pick and use the one that is right for your business. For now though, a quick Google search for something along the lines of “online rental application” should bring up plenty of quality results to get you started.
Landlords Who Have Used Online Rental Application Forms
Quite a few landlords have begun using online application forms even though they are a relatively new convenience.
And convenience is definitely the right word here! They speed up the rental process and make your job (and life) a whole lot easier.
If you’ve been following this blog for the past few weeks, then you likely have some idea of what all of the fuss is about. Online rental applications save time, money, and energy, and more tenants are likely to apply for your unit if you offer one. Check out the post that I wrote a few weeks ago if you want a more in-depth look – Why You Should Use an Online Rental Application Form.
88% percent of tenants have said that they would like to have the option of applying for rental units online. Not everyone has to use the online form though. You should always provide the option of a paper application for those who wish to do things the old-fashioned way.
Since so many tenants prefer to apply for units online, it makes sense that landlords providing online applications have experienced such a jump in the number of tenant-applicants. You can literally expect around a 25% to 50% in the number of applicants if you provide an online application form. And that figure is on the smaller side of things!
One landlord that I know even had ten times the number of applicants in the first three months that he provided online rental applications for tenant! True, it was around the beginning of the school year and he rents primarily to college-aged students, but it’s still an amazing increase in applicants!
Out of sixteen landlords that I personally know who have begun providing online rental applications, the lowest increase in tenant-applicants has been 25%. Pretty amazing if you ask me!
Tenants prefer online applications because they are simply easier. Rather than huff and puff through a paper form, and then have to either drive it back to your office or fax it in, they can just push the power button, fill a form out online, and click! With the amount of time that today’s population spends online, it doesn’t take a genius to see that online rental application forms are the wave of the future!
Explaining Online Rental Applications to Someone
Perhaps the best way to truly understand a concept yourself, and decipher all of its pros and cons, is to explain it to another person who has never heard of it before. For good measure, make that person someone much older than you, who grew up during a different time period, and is understandably a little in the dark about the concept.
I recently did this with my dad – I tried explaining online rental applications to him – and I came away with a better understanding of the concept myself.
I’ve been babbling about how cool online rental applications are on my blog here, so it just seems logical that I should be able to explain them to someone else who has no idea what they are.
Now, I am in no way saying that my dad isn’t a smart guy. He is actually the person that got me interested in real estate in the first place. But he is also the kind of guy that is happy with what he already knows and barely uses technology. This makes him a little confused in areas regarding the Internet. With that said, when I told him that I was working on a little blog that has to do with real estate in general and online applications, in particular, he had two questions.
“What the hell is a blog?” and “What exactly is an online application?
We definitely don’t need to go into my explanation of a blog right now, it was a murky one at best, but explaining online rental applications to him was insightful to say the least.
To explain online rental applications to my dad, someone who had never heard of them before, I basically broke my explanation down into four main parts.
- I explained how difficult and cumbersome it is for rental applicants to pick up a paper application, fill it out at home, and then drive back to the realtor’s office or fax it in. He definitely understood this because of his past experience as a landlord.
- Next, I explained that since almost everyone is plugged into the Internet these days, that allowing tenants to fill out rental applications online makes life a whole lot easier for them.
- I told him that online rental applications also benefit the realtor or landlord – well, he figured that bit out himself actually. He was ready to tell me that they obviously are quicker and take less time. He is right. In addition, they are cheaper and bring in an increased number of applicants.
- We also discussed how online rental applications help with the tenant screening process. Instead of having to wait for an application to be faxed to you, then fax it to a tenant screening service, and then wait for them to fax a report back to you, you can just have the online rental application automatically submitted to a tenant screening service as soon as the tenant finishes it and clicks send.
All in all, talking to my dad was great, like it always is. Even though he had never heard of online rental applications before, he agreed that they sounded extremely useful. And that makes me feel pretty good when it comes from a guy with over thirty years of real estate experience.