Surveys have shown that accepting and screening rental applications is one of the most time consuming parts of managing a commercial real estate enterprise. It is even more time consuming for smaller "mom-and-pop" operations with less than 20 rental units.
With that in mind, a Santa Barbara, Calif., company has created an online rental-application program that allows property managers to quickly sort through potential candidates. AppFolio launched its online application in mid-November. The program is included with purchase of the company’s Web-based property-management software.
The online rental-application program gives prospective renters the ability to apply from a vacancy posting on Craigslist, the property-management company’s Web site or from other vacancy listings found on the Internet.
“This means property managers can avoid the time-consuming task of accepting and processing paper applications, because all of the data is automatically entered into AppFolio,” according to the company. Along with saving time, AppFolio allows users to speed up the screening process, and therefore fill a vacancy more quickly, according to the company.
“We focus on improving our customers' bottom line and making their businesses more successful; this is another feature that delivers on that promise,” says Brian Donahoo, AppFolio’s chief executive. “The early feedback from our customers is so positive, and it is clear that avoiding paper applications will have a significant impact on their business.”
The company’s first service was specifically created for small and midsize residential-property managers.
The online rental-application program is integrated with the company’s property-management software, so managers no longer have to enter data manually. It includes an “Apply Now” button, which is listed on each online vacancy. Once submitted, the application goes directly to the property manager.
Property managers who use the online rental-application program can also realize other benefits, according to the company. The program saves office space because filing cabinets filled with paper applications from unqualified potential tenants will no longer be necessary. In addition, property managers living outside the rental area can be kept in the loop.
Having applications online allows managers to screen applicants from anywhere in the world. Security measures protect tenants' personal information, such as Social Security and bank-account numbers.
AppFolio, www.appfolio.com, creates what it describes as complete, easy-to-use, Web-based accounting and property-management software solutions for professional residential-property managers.