Virtual Application Process
Rental applications increasingly have been transitioning to electronic form. Here’s how it works…
- The owner or listing agent will most likely determine what application is used. If they are not currently using an online application system, be ready with suggestions.
- Online applications are usually started by providing your client(s) with a website link.
- From there, your client will complete an online form, typically providing info about income and employment, as well as info on current/past residences. The application system typically will also pull in additional credit and background info about your client.
- All of this client information will be made available to the landlord so that a decision can be made. This process timing is usually driven by how quickly tenants submit info and how quickly the landlord makes a decision. While there is no “normal,” we usually see anywhere from 1-3 days.
- Getting your commission! It is not uncommon for the owner (especially in the case of management companies) to require the applicant put the agent’s name on the application, in order to validate an agent commission. Make sure to ask the owner about this before your client gets the application; if this is the case, remind your client to put your name on the form!
Three important things for the agent to keep in mind:
- Maintain client control. This is good technique whether using the virtual process or in-person. Beyond our standard best practices, try to use an online application system that avoids exchanging owner and tenant contact information. Additionally, make sure that the system you use keeps you informed throughout all key process steps (e.g., client submits info, roommate submits info, owner gets credit info, owner makes decision).
- Hope for the best, but be ready with “Plan B.” As with the traditional showing process, there are several things that can go wrong at this stage. Check out our list of key issues at this stage.
- Getting paid. Some owners/managers (usually buildings or communities) ask the applicant to indicate if they are working with an agent. This is how the owner knows who to pay the agent fee. Remind you client to please do this (if the application requests this info.)
Let’s reiterate above…
- Be aware of maintaining client control- keep owners and clients separate.
- Ready yourself for any objections that arise during the application process; also make sure to lobby for your client as owners will often get more than one application for a listing.
- Make sure you let your client know if they have to add your name and info to the application in order for you to get paid for your work.
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