SmartMove vs RentPrep

4 Replies

I've used SmartMove for my last 3 tenants and have had good experiences with all of them, but I'm currently trying to screen a tenant with SmartMove and 1) I can't tell if I'm still receiving a BP discount because it doesn't tell me how much the reports cost (the tenant pays) and 2) the tenant suggested RentPrep as a better alternative for future screenings (which quite frankly makes me trust RentPrep less, but I'm open to the possibility). Has anyone had experience with both?

@Kendra Mattson

Simple thing to do is call them up and ask them what's going on. The customer service people at SmartMove are pretty professional and responsive. Maybe after a while the discount with BP expires when a certain number of screenings have been done with them. I used and I honestly have no complaints (I am not being compensated to make this statement). I never had an experience with RentPrep, so I have no insight about them.    

I had similar experience with SmartMove.  It appears the BP discount is only valid if you use an alternate main page to their site, and I could never tell what the "retail" price was to confirm my discount.  One day I just told myself I was working too hard for something that should be simple, so I switched to tenantbackgroundsearch (which is also cheaper).  I like how they have the landlord input the tenant data (i.e. SS#, etc.) so I know I'm screening the right person.  It always made me a bit nervous when SmartMove contacted the tenant directly, then generated their report without any oversight from me to verify their information.  RentPrep is on my short list of vendors I'd like to give a try to in the future.  Good luck!

I work for RentPrep and I can't speak to the BP/SmartMove question on discounts but will try my best to provide other insights.

@Kendra Mattson I'm surprised a tenant recommended us since a lot of our services are no tenant involvement. I'd ask the applicant how they know about RentPrep and you might find some more insights. Perhaps they own rentals in other areas and use the service. As far as trusting RentPrep, the best recommendation we have ever received came from Brandon Turner of BiggerPockets. He and his wife have been using our service for years and even endorsed it in "The Book On Managing Rental Properties." We have a team of FCRA Certified Screeners to run your reports and answer questions.

@Wesley W. brings up a good point about tenant involvement. Some services have tenant involvement such as SmartMove and others don't. If you don't want the applicant involved in the screening process than you'll want to look at other options. We offer SmartMove and we also have our core screening packages (Basic, Pro and Platinum). We've found that SmartMove orders have a 70% completion rate. The 30% of orders that are not finished are due in part to tenant involvement. If you want to check us out sometime we'd be happy to have you as a client.

Really quick I wanted to break down Pros/Cons of SmartMove.

- Ability to have applicant or landlord pay for the report
- Access to a full credit report that includes score
- Eviction data is included which is not the case for every credit report

- Criminal data missing from MA, DE, SD, WY and CO
- Tenant involvement (if that is a hangup for you)
- No one is fact checking your report due to it being an instant service

SM is a instant service and the 5 states mentioned above do not allow "instantaneous access" to their criminal databases. They do this because they can charge for manual access. If you live in one of those states or you have renter that lived there you may want to consider another option. At RentPrep our core packages are hand-compiled so we can access those databases. 

Any instant service is prone to errors due to databases being filled with errors.

"A 2015 study released by the Federal Trade Commission found that 23% of consumers identified inaccurate information in their credit reports."
Source - These errors can be caught and corrected with a service that has actual screeners that can go through the report and verify information for accuracy. 

If you have any questions feel free to email me or reach out to our support team.

Hey guys full disclosure, I own RentPrep. We carry the SmartMove product, so it's the exact same data from Transunion. Since we are a screening company, you have some other product options too. But, if you are ordering SmartMove, the only difference is you're talking with our FCRA Certified Screeners if you have questions about the data you get back on a report. I'm not pitching RentPrep over BP, just pointing out it's the same product to clear up any confusion.

Kendra, your instincts are good if your gut reaction is to not immediately trust a source the tenant suggests. I couldn't tell you how many doctored credit reports I've seen that came from the tenant directly. Even pay stubs and rental ledgers! So the key is be sure you are interacting with the source of the data directly. You should be able to see the data from your own account. If you're using BP or RentPrep for the SmartMove reports, all the data comes directly from Transunion, so you're safe there.

Wesley, since you prefer "no-tenant-involvement" reports, you want to steer clear of SmartMove and Experian's Connect product. Screening companies like tenantbackgroundssearch and RentPrep can manually process background checks. We manually pre-search the SSN to be sure it's correct, and if it's wrong, we fix it and run the background check with the correct SSN we found. I'm not sure who else does this, but it would have to be a screening company.

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