I am a new investor with two doors currently, and I wanted to start a discussion on how everyone is collecting application and application fee's. I have found that the canned applications on the websites (Zillow, cozy, rentprep etc...) do not ask all the questions that I would like to have on my rental application. Because of that, I am thinking about moving to an application that I create and hand out to tenants. Assuming it is reasonable to expect tenants to email the filled out application to me, the only major draw back I see with this method is how to collect the application payments. I am trying to avoid receiving application payments in the mail, driving around town to meet tenants and physically picking up payments, and expensive property management software. My current thought is to use quickbooks and send out email invoices that can be paid online. This will then allow me to management my accounting as well as application payments and even rent collection all from one source, decrease the duplicate effort of having to manually enter these transactions into an accounting tool.
What is everyone else doing? Looking for any great ideas from more experienced landlords to simplfy this process!
I look forward to the discussion!
Bryan, check out TenantCloud, I'm pretty sure they allow you to create a custom application. And RentPrep is built in as a screening option if that's what you're used to using.
Updated over 2 years ago
Edit: I forgot to mention that you can also have the tenants pay for some of the tenant screening on TenantCloud as well.
You can sign up for Square which is a free credit card scanning system that works with mobile devices. You get the equipment and software for free but there are fees for every charge. If your application fee is $20 you can bump it to $23 to cover the fees.
I would suggest looking into Cozy which is completely free, has great UI, customizable rental applications (I believe), and allows the tenant to pay directly for the background/credit check. It's honestly amazing free software.
That being said, I decided to go with Buildium since it has the accounting features I need (no need for QBO with Buildium) as well as full property management features that will scale with me as I grow. I'm paying sub $50 a month and it's about $20 more than what I'd pay for just QBO.
While a lot of landlord software only offers an uneditable preset application, there are some out there that will let you add custom questions! I would recommend going with an online platform like that so it's easier to accept the application fees. If you're still hesitant, I would recommend what Nathan suggested!