I have currently began using the Property Management Software Cozy and was wondering if anyone else that utilizes this software can help answer a few questions for me.
What are the Pros and Cons with utilizing the software from your experience?
Does anyone still utilize a paper (hard copy) application when taking applications?
Also has anyone experienced renters that don't have internet access?
Hello @Dylan B.
I am using Cozy, but find that where my properties are located there is a lot of people that are not Internet friendly. So I use paper applications when needed, I use Cozy when I can, and I have set up some alternative payment methods or accept cash when I need to. Feel free to ask on here or dm me your questions :).
Those were my thoughts as well.
I like Cozy and for the tenants that are able to use it, it is a lot easier. I wish they all would use it to pay rent, but many don't have/want to have a bank account and some think that automatic deduction is the only option and they'll be caught by surprise. That is why we have different options. There are other options that are good too.
I don't use cozy but we require apps be done online via our management software (I don't allow printers or faxes in the office). If someone doesn't have internet (not even on a phone? Really) then they can come in an apply on our kiosk (iPad). Or hell, go to a library or just about anywhere.
Honestly if someone can't get or figure out how to get online I don't want them as a tenant
@Cody L. I find that my tenants self-select themselves in being internet friendly since I only advertise online and I use Cozy to process my applications. But I am also in Silicon Valley, so I get that there may be some areas or properties that aren't necessarily going to attract tech-savvy people.
Cozy isn't bad, I find it very simple to use. The payments are delayed, but I believe they do this to make money from interest.
Internet isn't an issue, as 95% of the adult population have a smartphone with data
I am in Northern Idaho, and yes, there are people who still do not have bank accounts or internet access. We do our credit/criminal/eviction checks via our state's LL association, and it is still a fax and paper process. We also have to manually verify ID. The positive is that we get a full credit report, not just a number and a summary. Since we are small and rarely have vacancies, the process works well for us. There is much you can tell from face to face meetings.
I send interested applicants a detailed email that has more information about our apartments and renter's qualifications. If interested, they are then invited to an open house showing, where we verify I.D., collect the application fee and have applicants complete the credit check paperwork and consent. We are very strict on enforcing our lease rules, and this gives me an opportunity to go over our rules with prospective tenants. My goal is to get prospects who know they will not qualify, or who are looking for a place to be "Party Central" to self-screen themselves out.
Landlording is really all about tenant screening and selection. While I can understand that the mega-complexes with lots of turnover need to automate, we cater to tenants who do not want a large apartment complex living situation.
I am in another tech savvy area so my tenants love the ability to sign leases online and use Cozy for their rent payments.
What I like about Cozy is that they stop the auto deductions at the end of the lease. What I warn my tenants about is that if they sign up for the auto deductions they need to make sure the date for the first deduction is the first month of the lease not Cozy's default date. Since I ofter fully furnished apartment leases by the semester in a heavily academic area, my 2 rentals are in high demand and the leases are signed many months before the lease begins, so the fact that Cozy will default the first deduction to "now," is a significant issue for my tenants but I suspect that is not an issue for most tenants and landlords.
Also, I think land lording is really all about remembering that a tenant is a customer and that means they are always right. That was the advise we were given when we first became landlords and it has proven to be invaluable to us over the years.
I love cozy, very convenient! I use it to charge rent, never received online applications through it though. People still prefer paper applications.
My rentals are in C area, but my tenants have internet access and they are comfortable using it. For the ones who don't, just ask them to mail check, not that big of deal.
The cons is that it takes whole week for money to be transferred to my account.
First time user here. Question for Cozy users, what additional tools (online, pen/paper, or others) are you also using to supplement Cozy to manage your rental? Thanks in advance! :)
@Edward Ko I do a bit of piecemeal and it works for me... I advertise via craigslist, Zillow et al., signage and Cozy. When I am contacted by an interested party I email them my own application. I ask them to bring it and a copy of their free credit report to the showing. If they are qualified and wish to rent then I have them complete only what is necessary on the Cozy application and pay for the background check. I tell them that if they successfully complete the background check and rent (Which they should based on their answers to my application) then I will refund them the cost- $25 after 1st month. I then do my research into their credentials.
Once my lease is signed, I open a cozy account for them to pay their rent. I figure I give cozy the few buck from a background check (and whatever they skim off the transfer time) for the free services they provide.
Contrary to the way it was- I receive the rent in the account on the 1st of the month (having been given notice a couple days prior that it was being processed. And the deposit reflects my tenant's name. I love cozy.
@Patrick M. , thanks so much for the response. Just curious, why do you use your own application instead of Cozy's?
@Edward Ko I ask some background questions and also ask again whether they have a pet (no pets!) also ask why they are moving.... I have found that people are very reluctant to plugging in their SS# online- and I don't blame them, especially if you haven't even seen the apartment yet. Turning it over on a piece of paper face to face in the rental unit seems safer to them.
I've used Cozy in the past for tenant direct deposit rent payments--haven't used any other features. As for applications, all tenants are required to complete them online. I find this to be the most efficient way. If they don't have access to the internet, than we usually suggest completing them at the local library.
Having a terrible experience with Cozy. When you get credit/background reports back, you have to verify your identity with Experian. I put in my information, which I know is correct, but it ended up locking me out and told me I have to wait 72 hours to try again? I called Experian and they were no help, told me all they could do was send me a copy of my credit report for review. Called Cozy and they were equally useless, telling me that I had to wait and try again and that it's not their problem. You have to be kidding me? I have tenants waiting for an answer and now I'm stuck with Cozy and Experian pointing the finger at each other? Never Again!
Updated almost 2 years ago
As an update, Cozy support was able to assist and get this matter resolved.
I use Cozy to collect rent and it’s awesome. I do use a realtor to handle all showings, screening, credit checks, since I would get nothing done if I had to do all that. Plus, I think it’s better having a 3rd party
Make the tenant decision....I’m too much of a softie and would probably get drawn in by applicants’ drama.
However, for the month to month rent collection, it’s great, and my tenants love it too. Yes, it takes a few days, but so much better that waiting for that paper check to arrive and then have to deposit. I have one “holdout” who just insists on a paper check ughhh.
My banker said Cozy might present potential problems when going in for future financing. He says it will be difficult to establish a verifiable rent stream. I don’t see it...to me it’s pretty easy to print out a report, or show ACH deposits. So we’ll see when I’m Mortgage shopping again.
@David J. Have you frozen your personal credit file with Experian? I froze mine with all 3 credit reporting bureaus after the Equifax data breach and realized I needed to unfreeze my credit with Experian so Cozy.co could verify my identity to release my prospective tenants credit report to me. It was very frustrating and it cost $10 to unfreeze and another $10 to refreeze it. Other than that I love using Cozy.co. I do think the application could be better and I wish it was more customizable. The delayed deposit is ok since it is a free service and as long as I know it is not that big of a deal. You can pay to have it expedited I have not used that feature. I tried using the maintenance request feature to schedule a furnace filter change and my tenant said they never got the message from Cozy.co. I’m not sure what went wrong there.
Originally posted by @Lawrence Henkel III :
David J. Have you frozen your personal credit file with Experian? I froze mine with all 3 credit reporting bureaus after the Equifax data breach and realized I needed to unfreeze my credit with Experian so Cozy.co could verify my identity to release my prospective tenants credit report to me. It was very frustrating and it cost $10 to unfreeze and another $10 to refreeze it. Other than that I love using Cozy.co. I do think the application could be better and I wish it was more customizable. The delayed deposit is ok since it is a free service and as long as I know it is not that big of a deal. You can pay to have it expedited I have not used that feature. I tried using the maintenance request feature to schedule a furnace filter change and my tenant said they never got the message from Cozy.co. I’m not sure what went wrong there.
Hi Lawrence, since posting, Cozy support wrote me back and they were able to perform some backend magic, which let me try again. This time I made sure to enter all info exactly as it appeared under my Experian account and voila, I got in! Thank you for the tips though, Cheers!
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