Tenant Screening using TransUnion SmartMove

14 Replies

So I bought my first rental property and I am currently trying to get it rented out. I started using the TransUnion SmartMove to screen tenants. I was under the impression that my full application would be on there, but after receiving a response from an applicant, it looks like it is just the credit/criminal background part and not all of the other info you'd typically have on the application - employment, previous dwellings, etc.

Is that correct or did I just use the service wrong? If TransUnion SmartMove and the actual application are two separate things, how are most of you having applicants fill out the application part? Just sending them a PDF or having them fill out a hard copy and mailing it back?


@Rodney Kuhl i use buildium, which has a partnership with transition/smartmove. for everything that's included, i think the SW is pretty reasonably priced.

among other things, it has a portal where perspective tenants complete secure online applications that feed automatically to TU/SM…which was a big selling feature for me. so far, i've been happy with it.

if you want to see what customized portal (and application link, click on apply now) looks like, you can check mine out: [REMOVED]

the site was super easy to set up…took about 10 mins. when i have openings, the unit description and pictures display when i list the unit … i'm 100% occupied right now…so you won't see a reference to available units. hope this helps.

@Kevin Young Thanks a lot! How much do you pay for that if you don't mind me asking?

@Rodney Kuhl


$25/mo for up to 25 units. expensive if you have 1 house, cheep if you have 25 units. the price scales over 25 units. i think they charge $13 per credit/criminal check. i have the credit check direct billed to me and collect $ from the prospective tenant to cover my costs.

as a data point, my PM is using rent manager for my HI properties. i pay $50/mo for RM and its clunky (for me) b/c it doesn't run natively on a mac

@Kevin Young Gotcha, thanks for responding. I'll keep this in mind for the future when I have more properties. Like you said, with just one property it's pretty expensive. Looks really slick and easy though!

@Rodney Kuhl I am in a similar situation. I plan on using Smart Move, but have been emailing PDFs of my application. I only have one renatl so will jot be joining any monthly pay service at this time.

I found SmartMove to be useful in that: a) I can meet FCRA requirements without having a site visit, etc and b) the fee is transparent and paid by the applicant. I don't have to justify an application fee, and it sorts out those who don't want to jump over this extremely low hurdle.

However, you're right in that you have to vet the rest of their information personally.

@Ben Skove Gotcha, thanks! Yeah, I think the service is great. I just thought I was going to be able to upload my full application and it would cover all of that info as well. How are you gathering the other information? Do you have them fill out a hard copy and mail it back?

@Joe Butcher When you send them a PDF, is it a PDF with the fillable boxes so they can just type in their information, save the PDF, and send it back? If so, where do you go to create that document, as I'd love to do that. Thanks!

@Rodney Kuhl I dont know about fillable PDFs. My experience is you need the pro version of Acrobat to do that, although I have found several free PDF form fillers online and they work great. (just Google PDF form filler)

My SFR is actually not ready yet (rehab finishes this week) but I am advertising it and emailing the PDF to interested tenants, telling them to hold on to it until the showing, at which point they can give it to me in person....although now I am thinking I should perhaps provide a link to a free PDF form filler.

I used the rent application that is provided in the file place section here on BP. I opened it in Word, modified it, then did a "save as" and chose PDF as the format.

@Rodney Kuhl At my rental level, it's often a hard copy. Some mail, some will arrange to drop it off. I'd love to move everything into the digital age; unfortunately, I have to meet my applicants at their level of tech savvy.

Hi Rodney,

I'm wondering if TransUnion is having some issues as I posted a few minutes ago under

Ran credit check but transunion cannot find applicant

responding to a person about why their person was not found. Seems your issue is that you found the person but the service returned was incomplete.


@Joe Butcher @Ben Skove Thanks guys! I just wasn't aware I'd still need the actual application as I thought I could combine then on TransUnion. No biggie, I'll figure that out. Would love to go all digital with the fillable PDF docs, so if either of you figure those out, please let me know! I'll stick with a hard copy for now I guess.

Hi Rodney,

I am a representative of Transunion SmartMove and can help answer your questions. To confirm what others have mentioned, SmartMove currently does not offer full rental applications along with our tenant screening service. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact me directly at [email protected]. Thanks!

I let the tenant fill out an application first. Once you've reviewed the application and they seem qualified (I call references and everything), then I have them use Smartmove so I can get their credit and background check. I pay for the service (expected in my area), so I make sure they meet all other qualifications before wasting their time or my money.

As far as the application...if you don't have a website, you can set one up on google sites easily. Then go to jotform.com to make your online application. It's super simple, and even if you only use your website for people to fill out an online application, it is worth it!

@Elizabeth Bassett So is jotform.com essentially going to set up a fillable PDF, which could easily be emailed to applicants (if not on a website)?