How to Automate Tenant Pre-Screening
You can waste a lot of time pre-screening and showing rental properties. This may not seem like a big deal when you have 1-5 properties but as your portfolio grows, learning how to automate and delegate will free up time to work on your business and acquire more properties.
What is pre-screening and how to automate it?
Tenant pre-screening saves time by narrowing down the number of showings to pre-qualified applicants only. This should not replace checking credit, background and references.
Almost everything you want to know about the applicant will be in the application and their credit report. The biggest mistakes some landlords make is to rely on their gut feeling and their past experience. If you plan to be a professional, leave the gut feeling behind and use what lenders use, credit reports. When was the last time you got a loan based on your lender gut feeling?
The reason to use credit reports and objective scoring is to remove bias from our decisions and make the process stress-free, easy and repeatable not only by you but by people you hire to help you.
That’s how you can grow your rental business.
That being said, pre-screening can weed out some of the unsuitable applicants and save you time.
Pre Screening Applicant on the Phone
Try to turn this interview into a normal conversation and get the potential tenants talking. Listen 90 percent of the time. Tenants are more likely to open up to you if you are not interrogating them but asking open-ended questions. You may choose to ask some of the questions and email the rest.
Here are 12 Tenant Pre-Screening Questions to ask:
- When are you planning to move?
- Where are you moving from?
- Do you currently rent? Are you interested in buying in the future?
- Why are you moving?
- What kind of pets do you have and how many?
- Where do you work? How long have you been employed there?
- What is your monthly household income?
- Have you ever been evicted?
- Do you owe money to other landlords or property management companies?
- What is your credit score (if you know it)?
- When would you like to see the property?
- We use TransUnion and Smart Move for our credit and background check. If there is something you are concerned about?
If they seem a good fit get their email to send them instructions for seeing the property and a link to your application.
How to Automate Pre-screening by Email
Set up a dedicated Google email and turn on the vacation responder. Use that email in Zillow, Trulia, Craigslist, and all other places where you market your property.
Next, create an email and list your criteria for applying, direction with how to schedule a viewing, and a link to your application. You can also create a form in Google with the questions you want to ask.
Here is a video on how to set up a vacation responder and create a pre-screening survey using Google Forms.
Pre-Screening Survey Template – To use this template, open it and make a copy.