Let’s be frank, if you're a property manager or the owner of a rental you know the longest and hardest part of leasing is the application process. Long approval times can not only indicate difficulties in gathering high value information, but also leaves your potential tenants disadvantaged. Simply put, application speed impacts the overall vacancy cycle, and that’s a pain point for everyone involved.
Take this scenario, an operator of a collection of single-family units is looking to screen a handful of tenants to fill one of their vacancies. Each potential tenant will complete the application, submit their documents: proof of income, employment, bank statements, references, credit reports, etc. After that, those documents need to be combed through. On average, it takes 3 days to process one applicant from start to finish. Now say, there’s 4 applicants to look into. We’ve moved to 12 days of managing the screening process for each applicant, and only one of those applicants met the prerequisites the operator was looking for.
Those first 3 applicants didn’t qualify, yet they waited days only to be disappointed. Had they been given an answer sooner, the 3 that didn’t qualify could have moved their apartment hunt elsewhere. This is a customer service challenge that can impact your brand and reputation.
Are you wondering why this hypothetical scenario took so long? Well, the answer lies behind the scenes where unseen factors bog down the process. Consider the workload that goes into applicant evaluation. According to the 2021 Apartment Visionaries Survey Report produced by LeaseLock and Grace Hill, 80% of respondents of single-family units reported their lease application to move-in time frame was well over a week, with 15 days being the norm.
The challenge is, most rentals require the applicant to “prove” their ability to afford the rent. This is not a bad thing, it protects both parties. The potential tenant doesn’t end up in a unit they can’t afford and the operator doesn’t end up with a tenant who is missing rent payments.
So how does an applicant prove they qualify? Today, this requires the applicant to provide an onerous collection of documents. Yet that documentation is not always readily available to those applicants. Further, the process depends on the applicant’s ability to provide that information both accurately and in a timely fashion, which for a number of reasons, isn’t always the most feasible task.
Even online applications do not alleviate that burden. This is because they’re not designed to input that information. Most online applications simply have an area to upload those paper documents, meaning property operators and leasing agents still need to read through and evaluate those documents, and this is where the backlog originates.
Sadly, this time sink is not solely due to document collection issues. The harsh reality is that documents like paystubs, bank statements and credit reports are also prone to errors and missing components. Even after collecting said documents, identifying these issues take their toll.
Fraud also plays a part. Whether due to avoidance in terms of incomplete document submission or the overt creation of false documents, the job of an applicant screening has become increasingly complex and difficult. Vetting applicants can feel like detective work.
Additionally, such long timeframes to move-in an approved tenant forgos the NOI that the rental unit could be producing in that time. Looking back at the hypothetical scenario from earlier, the 12 days it took to find the approved applicant has a material impact on your business. The overhead associated with document collection and evaluation accumulates. Multiply this scenario against many vacancies and suddenly the labor cost for property managers and leasing agents balloons. Beyond overhead, the cost of vacancy is irrefutable. 12 days multiplied by each vacant unit adds up to a significant level of missed revenue.
So how do you solve all of this while keeping the process easy, fair and equitable for potential tenants? What if you could find the information you’d typically receive from those paper documents in another, different but more efficient way; directly from the digital source of those very documents? What if you could complete days of work in just minutes?
This is where VeriFast comes in. VeriFast provides digitally confirmed verification in place of self-reported documentation and qualifies an applicant in under 3 minutes. VeriFast report confirms identity and 12 months or more of employment, income, rent payments, bill payments, overdraft activity, account balances, monthly cash flow and more. Through VeriFast’s AI-powered report, the manual work becomes automatic and the time-consuming process becomes instantaneous.
The key takeaway is VeriFast eliminates the hassle of resource-heavy manual screening processes so those 12 days spent verifying those 4 applicants can be done in 12 minutes.
Eradicate the move-in delay manual screening is costing you, get instant verification instead. Book a demo with us.