I made settlement on my first rental property today and I want to use Cozy as the platform for rental applications and even collecting rent. My question for the BP community is: What do you do if the potential tenant is computer illiterate? What strategies do you utilize for those folks who can't use a computer to apply online? Any advice you can share is appreciated.
@Ray Realdine when I did affordable housing, a majority of my tenants were computer illiterate or didn't have access to a computer/internet. It was quite the challenge, and involved a lot of extra management time.
On anything I do that is outside of affordable housing, part of my screening process for new tenants is that they have to apply online. I don't offer any other way. I want folks that can apply online, pay rent online, submit maintenance requests online, etc..
As a side note, most of my stuff is managed by a PM, but I use Cozy for a multifamily I live in. It is a great cost effective product.
@Ray Realdine it depends, does filtering for computer literacy work to your advantage or against you? That depends on the target tenant in your area. As far as access to computers, every public library has free access and anyone under the age of 40 grew up with computers in school. If your target is senior citizens, that could be an issue.
I have used the Cozy application and it is very fast, but not very thorough. I prefer my paper application just to get more information. The nice thing about Cozy is the credit/background check is really easy and the tenant pays for it with their own credit card. Cozy is great for collecting rent too.
We've been using Cozy for about four years and it's been a game changer for us. Automated so many tedious tasks and makes vetting so much simpler than our old process. We don't accept any paper applications and require that rent is paid online via Cozy. Honestly, I don't want to deal with a tenant that sends me checks, so I don't.
@Ray Realdine I will offer another reason you should think about altering your process.
One of my best tenant, a retired school teacher did not apply on Cozy because she did not feel comfortable with entering her social on that site. Thankfully I email all of my tenants out a hard copy application when I get an inquiry. They bring it, filled out, to the showing. When I have whittled it down I then send them to Cozy to apply and do the background check.
I think this is the best way- and frankly, think if it was you: Many have never heard of Cozy, they have not yet met you and may not have seen the apartment... they may be very apprehensive about providing their personal info under those conditions. I let them hold onto all of there personal info until they meet me and the apartment they want.
Cozy is a very legit and great company- but to the unknowing, they may have very real concerns about putting their personal info into a website they are unfamiliar with.
Also- why don't you just set up a laptop at the showing for those that need assistance?
@Ray Realdine I automate my processes everywhere possible. I like to have the original application with their SSN, birthday etc in case I ever needed to file something against their credit report. I have to show the house anyway and give them keys once approved.
I make them go to my bank and deposit rent directly to my account. Cozy is just the middleman to getting your rent to your bank account. I cut out the middleman.
I have started accepting Zelle which is an instant transfer, is free and is supported by all the major banks. It was already part of my Wells Fargo bank app.
I never chase rent. My 5 day notice is part of my lease. They pay or they get an eviction notice. I train them up front and now have a lot of long term tenants and very low turnover.
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