Screening Workflow: when do I get the Background check?

4 Replies

Hey Guys, My wife and I recently bought our first brrrr duplex. We have completed the rehab and now we are in the process of tenant screening. We have been going through Brandon Turner’s book the Ultimate Guide to Managing Rental Properties and we love it! A few questions we have is when in the process do we run the background check and credit check? Do we accept applications choose the best one and then run the background check on just that person? Or do we run a background check on multiple people that have submitted applications? Or on every application? Same question for income verification and landlord references. We are planning on using cozy as a platform for the checks. When we accept an application what do we send to the other tenants? To whom do you have to send the adverse action letter to? Thanks in advanced for any help!!!

Set up free phone number with google

Put property up for rent with Zillow 

You receive a call

Let it go to voice mail

Call back

It will most likely go to voicemail

Tell them you would be happy to set up an appt for them to text you with their email address. You will email them the application.  Once they have filled out the first page they send it back to you 

you will be happy to set an appt for them to see the property 

If you like what you see on the first page 

You show the property ALONG with any other applicants you have.  Show it to all people you can at the same time 

You tell everyone first come with cash first served if you have multiple candidates with acceptable background checks 

They like  it

You tell them to fill out the rest of the application and also send them the link to Cozy dot com to get their background and finance check done.  They will be paying cozy $49 directly 

Everyone's process is going to be a little different. Here's my process:

  • Add a webpage on my website with all property information. The webpage will have answers to every question that I get from prospective tenants concerning the property (price, number of bedrooms, when it's available etc etc). There's also a video walkthrough of the apartment, a link to all other apartments that I have available, my weekly schedule for when they can come see the apartment (I do 1 or 2 open houses per week), and a link to my online rental application.
  • Place apartment on the market 
  • Prospects either call me (Leave a message on my Google Voice phone number) or I get an email from Zillow, Trulia etc with their contact info
  • I send the prospect a text message (using text expander) leading them to the webpage
  • The prospect chooses which open house works for them and will attend (I don't make 1-on-1 appointments). If they cannot make it to one of my open houses, We can set up a Facetime, Facebook Live-Stream, Google Hangouts, Google Duo etc during one of my open houses
  • They fill out my online application
  • I look it over to see if there's anything that will automatically disqualify them (evictions, not enough income). If so, I stop the process here and send them the Adverse Action Letter.
  • I run the credit check and ask them to email me a clear/close photo of their ID, PDF copies of 2 bank statements & most recent month's worth of paycheck stubs (Again, using Text Expander) (If you don't know what Text Expander is, I have a YouTube video explaining how I use it to screen tenants. Inbox me if you'd like to see it)
  • I contact employers, current landlord & past landlords 
  • I make my decision based on all information collected and my qualification standards (Brandon Turner talks about Qualification Standards in "The book on Managing Rental Properties"

It's good to have a standard practice of evaluating every applicant the exact same way, so I wouldn't say that you necessarily have to run a background check / income verification on every prospect, just make sure that if you don't, it's because something disqualified them before they made it to that point in your screening process.

As for the adverse action letter... Send it to EVERYONE that has applied and was denied, regardless of the reason.

Hope that helps

@Thomas Fawcett I use tenantcloud ($9/Mo). I post on Zillow and FB marketplace. Once folks have seen the place they do my online application through tenantcloud. This is free and screens them by having them answer my custom questions to see if they will qualify. These include income questions, credit score questions, smoking questions, etc. If they pass that I do the formal background check through tenantcloud which has an option for trans union Smartmove, they pay. If they come back ok then I have them submit deposit and first months rent online and sign lease online. I like tenantcloud over cozy. I collect all money online and it direct deposits into my bank account. Totally free for tenant.