Online Rental App Vs. Paper App—Which is Better?

Convenience is key in life. Taking small shortcuts to help manage time more efficiently goes a long way. Even when deciding where to live, people prefer to search for properties online and make a move on the ones that interest them right from their screens. If you’re a landlord with vacant properties, you’re probably considering shifting your business online, but have questions about the online renters application. To help you make the best decision for your properties, here are some key components to the online application and the traditional paper application.

Handwriting Vs. Typing

There are both pros and cons to handwriting, as is also the case with typing. It’s hard to believe, but handwriting is becoming a dying art. We live in a digital age where by the age of two, children can already work a touchscreen device. When you combine using computers and devices to communicate through text, you’ll find that people no longer practice handwriting in the same fashion. This results in a decrease in confidence and trust in handwritten artifacts. When considering one’s handwriting style when filling out important documents, it’s imperative that applicants write as legible as possible, but that might not always be the case.

Typing, on the other hand, results in fewer spelling and grammatical errors. Thanks to the help of autocorrect, what might be overlooked because of speed or inattention is automatically corrected. On a rental application where accuracy is key, functions like autocorrect and spell-check can make all the difference. Also, landlords won’t have to sift through different styles and sizes of handwriting, as most online fonts are easy to read.

Advantages Vs. Disadvantages

The advantage to using online rental applications is that most systems have features that automatically catch errors or omissions. For instance, if a potential tenant is filling out their demographic information but leaves out their email address, the application will not move forward unless that address is provided.

Such a feature is not available on traditional paper applications. If an applicant forgets to include their contact information on an application, the landlord will have a difficult time trying to get in touch, especially if they were a perfect fit for the property. This feature might seem minor, but it can help save time and trouble on the long run.

It is a well-known fact that online applications will receive more applicants than traditional methods. While this might seem like a good thing, you might get many applicants who are either unqualified or haven’t read your listing in its entirety. An advantage of going with a paper application is that clients have the option of filling it out at a rental office. This gives them the chance to have their agent walk them through the process. For example, if they are working with a real estate agent in Ann Arbor, MI and your property is located in an area that makes their commute too long, the agent can bring this matter to their attention and steer their focus on another one of your properties that better fits their needs. This can help you speed your search for the perfect tenant, as your applicants will be more concentrated. Any questions that interested renters may have can be easily answered by someone in the office.

Mandatory Vs. Optional

While most landlords are accepting online applications, some are opting for a hybrid of both an online application and a traditional pen-and-paper one. For the customer’s convenience, the background check is typically done through the online portion. This creates a quicker turnaround to get a tenant into their new home. Then, when it comes to the demographic information or the financial portion, some landlords are opting to have that part of the application to be completed in person. With time efficiency being a top priority, both ways present quick options for the application process, and ultimately it comes down to the landlord’s preference.

When it comes to the rental application, it can’t be denied that online methods have helped landlords greatly. From their efficiency, ease of use, and the features they offer, it’s not hard to see why. Granted, as with anything, there are still benefits to traditional applications, which is why most landlords end up offering both online applications and hand-written options, leaving the decision up to the clients. In the end, a landlord should be confident with both methods and choose whichever works best for their situation.