Are you still using paper rental applications that your prospective tenants fill out when showing your properties? What if your tenants could securely submit their rental application information and pay the application fee online? In the age of the internet, you no longer have to worry about managing all those paper forms and maintaining a mess of records in your filing cabinet. New tools are available to help organize your rental applications and even accept the rental application fee online, virtually eliminating trips to the bank and saving you time, money, and hassle. Just how easy is it to accept rental applications online? Continue reading to find out more.

Rental Application Form

The online rental application starts with a secure rental application form on your website. Then tenant will go to a rental application though a link and fill out the form with all information you normally use for background and credit checks. Since sensitive information is collected from tenants, it’s important that this information be encrypted to protect against identity theft. Also, the online form should be customized for your business and should contain rental application questions that are required by law for your state. A typical tenant would fill out the online rental application form with all of their information, pay any rental application fees electronically, and it would then be routed directly to you for review and background and credit checks.

Manage applications online

What good are accepting online rental application forms if there is no easy way to view and manage them?  After online rental applications are submitted by tenants, being able store and later view the information online in an easy to use way is essential to replace the traditional filing cabinet. With E-Rental Tools, we offer an easy to use solution that lets you review applications and manage the complete workflow as you process them through our rental application forms dashboard. The dashboard allows the property manager is to view and search all online rental application forms right from their website and efficiently process credit and background checks much quicker and easier than with paper forms.

It's a no-brainer, allowing your prospective tenants to submit their rental applications online and allowing you to view and work new online rental application forms and process them as you run credit and background checks helps to save time, eliminate paper and document storage, and keep your business organized.

Saturday, 23 June 2012 12:31

3 Steps to Rent your Properties Faster

Why is the rental process so painful for many property managers? Writing up “For Rent” advertisements, posting online and print ads and signs, and controlling costs are no easy task. If these advertisements are not reaching the right renters, it may feel like the whole process is just a lot of wasted time. We feel that there is a way to make the process easier by taking the time to identify the tenants who would react best to your advertising and marketing, and that apartment management software can help to streamline the rental process and take much of the burden off of property managers. In this post we will discuss what you can do to identify and advertise to the tenant who would most likely want to rent your property.

Step #1: Identify Your Ideal Tenant

The first step in the process is to understand what we call the “ideal tenant” for your rental and segment them into groups so that you can advertise to them most effectively. What do they do with their time? Where do they hang out? What newspapers and websites do they use? Going through a brainstorming process to identify these traits can help so that you better spend your time on reaching tenants where they are most likely to be. For example, if you manage rentals in a college town your ideal tenant would probably be college students, 18-25 years old, attending the university, that read the college newspaper and website. You can get as detailed as you want to help target these renters as precisely as possible.

Step #2: Advertise Where They Hang Out

Now that you have identified your ideal tenant, ask yourself where they are most likely going to see your rental advertisement. In the example in step #1, we identified that they read the college newspaper and website so this would be a great place for you to advertise your rentals. Also, be sure to keep in mind how can you adjust the wording of your advertisement to appeal to them. Your apartment management software may allow you to advertise only to certain websites, for example to which can also help to target your demographic. If you are in a high foot traffic area maybe a “For Rent” sign would be a candidate. Or, if your ideal renter only reads the newspaper then that would be the way to go.

Step #3: Use Metrics to Track Progress

What good is a strategy if you can’t determine if it’s effective or not? Keeping good metrics is important to understand how well your advertising campaign is working and is important to make sure you aren’t wasting time and money in the wrong places. If you use online contact forms on your website, a great way to keep track of how your tenants found your rental is to include a field on the page to ask how they found your site when they fill out the form. Your apartment management software may also be able to track keywords to your website so that you can get a better understanding of what search terms are being used to find your website through search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

These three steps should lay a good foundation for you to begin to get a better understanding of who your renters are and how to best reach them for the least amount of cost and also determine how effective your efforts are. How do you plan to better understand and target new renters?

Do you have a way to easily get in touch with your tenants and communicate with them regularly?  Whatever your answer, tenant management software can help to streamline the process, lower costs, and get important information to your tenants with ease when they need it.  Recently, we witnessed a fire caused by a grill being improperly used on a wooden back porch.  Fortunately the apartment building didn’t burn down and no one was injured.  This fire could have been avoided if the tenant was aware of rules and regulations about the proper use of grills and had easy access to building rules and regulations such as using a grilling pad and having a fire extinguisher nearby.

deck fire


Improvement #1:  Use Electronic Communication

The easiest and most cost effective way to get information to your tenants is through electronic communication.  Email is probably the most effective means of sending information since you can attach files and pictures and send directly to your tenants.  With 80% of households in the U.S. having access to the internet at home and work, it is a great way to get information our quickly.  Other new technologies such as text messaging can also be used to send out information rapidly, for example a text message can be sent to tenants when there is an emergency water shutoff at a building.  Contacting tenants by phone is also an option but is time consuming.  Some tenant management software programs support automated phone calls, such as for maintenance request appointment reminders.

Improvement #2: Use Your Property Management Website

Does your property management website allow you to post messages and documents for your tenants, and when they log in to pay rent, does your site allow you to display important information to them?  Since many tenants misplace the important documents they were given when they signed the lease, it is essential that your tenant management software have an online repository for information so that tenants can easily find, download, and print documents they need.  Also, your website should have a way to alert tenants to information such as through a pop-up notification or scrolling banner.  For example, a notification can pop up at the start of warm weather to remind tenants about grill use rules for your building.

Improvement #3:  On-Property Messaging

Do you list your website address or use QR codes on any communications you have at your properties, for example on building signs?  We have seen many property management companies list at least their website address on each building so that tenants and even renters looking for apartments can find your website.  If you manage larger buildings, having a TV monitor that displays important building information is also a great option to alert tenants to building news.  Of course, having a message board in a common area such as near a front entranceway is also a great way to provide tenants with information and is used most widely.  We suggest that any messages posted on message boards also link to your website for more information.

What is your strategy to get information to your tenants more timely and easily and how are you using tenant management software to do so?