and paper applications?? Hybrid system?

9 Replies

So I'm researching to maybe use it for a couple of SFR's and was looking for some feedback from users. I was leaning towards using a "Mike Butler" type system with the paper application and all. I like his thoery of never disqualifying a tenant. However, his system seems a bit dated and I love the ease of use that Cozy seems to offer. I've done the help videos and read up on what I could find but I'm not totally satisfied.

What has your experience been from start to finish with Cozy?

1) Is the Cozy application process thorough enough? Can the application questions be customized?

2) Do you use a hybrid Cozy/paper system for placing tenants and receiving payments? paper applications/leases, Cozy for payment collection ect ?

3) Do you just throw out the Cozy link and make any/all prospective applicants pay for the screening? How is this best handled?

4) Do your tenants struggle with getting their cozy acct set up to pay? forgetting login details ect ect? 

5) I'm thinking of using a prescreening intake form of some sort and narrowing down applicants before emailing prospects the cozy link to apply. Would there be anything wrong with that?

Thanks for any and all feedback!

I use a paper/Cozy hybrid personally.

I prescreen over the phone, have my own hard copy paper applications, and part of process requires them to complete a Cozy background check.

If the application AND the Cozy screening check out, I rent to them and offer them the OPTION to use Cozy for payments.

Some older folks aren’t as keen on the idea of electronic payment methods and would rather deliver a check the 1st of the month, but most opt to just use Cozy.

I do exactly as @Mark Nolan is doing.  I don't send the Cozy background check request until I screen the hard copy application for income requirements, pets, smokers, etc.  I like having a real signature on the application in case I need it in court at a later date.  The applicants like the idea of paying Cozy directly for the background checks because they know I'm not getting any money out of it.  Both the tenants and I like the Cozy rent payment system.

@Jeremy M. I only use the Cozy application. It believe it covers everything I needs.  Since I only advertise online, there is no excuse for applicants not completing the online application.  I used to use paper applications, but found that most applicants were rushed to complete them at the showings and they were usually incomplete. 

From my experience, you can not customize the application.  Where I need additional information I just ask the applicant after they complete the application.

I require the applicant to pay for the background check and credit report.  That is the application fee. I do not charge anything additional to this.

I do not use Cozy's payment service, but use another company for payments.  I find that most of the tenant like the system and use it without problem.  I do occasionally have tenants that don't care for banks, so they deliver money orders to my address. 

@Jeremy M. ,

We use cozy for our basic application.    I love them for  advertising/screening and applying purposes.  The only things to be aware of is that the payments take 3-5 business days extra to get the money, and the background checks are decent--- but if you can, cross reference with your local district court.     

I don't think the questions can be customized, but that's what phone calls/emails are for!  Our leases are paper, but applications are strictly done online.    That being said, the application online gives you a snapshot, but it's your job to ask more questions if needed.   We like to know 2 yrs work history, so we ask for more details and stress communication! 

We state we prefer cozy, but if not, we can do money orders.  Don't do personal checks or cash. 

We do a basic screen through emails, and then meet them in person, and if we like them-- we send them the link.  I  don't want people wasting $25 or $40 if they have no chance.    No one struggles, and if they do-- we tell them to call for help.   As far as narrowing down people, the cost of the application/background check narrows it down quickly, we talk to everyone, but we don't actually do any work as far as legit screening goes until they apply and pay the fee.   I would strongly recommend not wasting your time doing anything other than talking, until they apply and show they are legit!

Hi @Jeremy M.  

We have been using Cozy for about two years and I love it. I'm sure there are better property management software out there, but Cozy is a good Free platform for Landlords and it's very easy to use. Currently managing  5 units with Cozy and we have never had any issues. You should definitely use a detailed paper lease along with Cozy. The tenants application, credit and background check is usually very straight forward for tenants and you can download the forms as PDF and keep them for your records. We have never have any issues with tenants setting up Cozy payments. I hope this helps. 

Thanks everybody for the responses! Makes me feel like I'm on the right track with using a combination of paper/Cozy. I'm also toying with the idea of using a Google Forms intake form of sorts to send out initially as my first filter. I'll see how that goes.

I may actually move from a full Cozy application process to a paper/Cozy process based on some of this feedback.

I like Cozy, but my issue is getting people to pay for the background/credit check. I have always given the app link to everyone who sees the place (don’t want to seem discriminatory). But some I know won’t make the cut after meeting them. But I really don’t want them paying$40 per person for a background/credit check - knowing they are going to get denied.

Anyway, I’m still trying to figure that part of the process out.

@Mike McCarthy , you can use Cozy’s online application without requiring credit or background checks.  Then, only request screening reports from those that prequalify. No need for some tenants to waste $40 if they won’t meet the income requirements. 

I have used Cozy for several properties, and I would say that moving forward my process would be a combination of:
  1. Pre-screening questions before showing the property (this helps save us both time)
  2. Show the property, and then if potential tenant is interested enough in applying:
  3. Cozy Application and supplemental application (either paper or digital, if you can create one using, Google Form, TypeForm, JotForm, etc.). Cozy is super minimal in the application information collection category. They would do well to allow landlords the option of adding questions.
  4. Cozy credit check/background (it's tough on tenants at $80/couple + more if other adults in the home).
  5. Execute Lease through Docusign and collect initial funds
  6. Upload Lease to Cozy and setup ACH payments through

It would be great if Cozy could handle the entire process, but they only seem to really work for the credit report/background check, and setting up automatic payments. Even the listing syndication only works for the Move, Inc family of sites, not the Zillow group sites.

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here