How to Improve Your Applicant Experience


After your advertisements and listings, your rental application is the first-time renters will interact with your business. How can you make sure they have a good experience?

In addition to the appearance and content of your rental application, you can offer eye-catching incentives and hooks for applicants. You can also evaluate how easy your application is to navigate, including the accessibility of your digital application.

Your rental application can attract or deter applicants – renters will form their first impressions of you based on how well your application is organized, how you phrase your questions, and the overall professionalism of the document. Be sure to dedicate careful thought and consideration to each.

Here are a few tips for improving your applicant experience.

Use a Professional Template

One way to ensure a high-quality application is to use a professional template. If you use property management software, your account may already come with application templates. Other platforms offer document packages for an additional fee.

Using a professional template sends the message that your business is equally professional. Clear formatting, readable fonts and sizes, and editable fields can take your rental application to the next level. 

While paper applications are acceptable, a digital template is much more accessible to applicants who may use screen readers. The legibility of your application for all renters is imperative.

Use Clear, Precise Language

The language you use in your rental application also matters. Clear, accessible language is better than excessive jargon or complicated sentences.

Remember, your applicants will have various reading levels and familiarity with rental documents. The easier your application is to understand, the higher your chance to get eligible and qualified applicants.

Be aware that you cannot ask any question you want on your rental application. The Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) forbids landlords from discriminative questions about race, gender/sexuality, religion, and more. To avoid lawsuits, stick to questions about income, rental history, and employment.

Set an Affordable or Refundable Fee

Application fees are designed to compensate you for the trouble of screening an applicant. If you end up denying an applicant, you have wasted significant time and energy screening the individual. Application fees at least reimburse you for the time, effort, and expenses you spent. 

An applicant who seriously considers themself eligible to rent your properties shouldn’t find a small fee a considerable burden. However, if your fee is unusually high and your competitors’ prices are lower, you may need to make your fee more affordable.

Tenants will spend a lot of time filling out a lengthy application, so offering a discount or refund of an application fee if accepted can be an effective incentive for tenants to apply.

An affordable application fee also communicates that you care about making the application process accessible to renters and don’t want to pose unnecessary hardships on them.

Offer Perks and Incentives

Another way to increase the attractiveness of your rental application is to offer perks and incentives. You can be as creative as you want with promotions and incentives for renters to sign leases. 

A special offer or perk may entice a renter to apply to rent your property before another, especially if your prices and amenities are approximately equivalent. These perks grab renters’ attention and get them interested in your units.

Move-in perks are also an engaging method for motivating and capturing renters. For instance, coupons for local restaurants or free merchandise upon arrival (think T-shirts, water bottles, lanyards) go a long way toward making renters feel cared for and welcomed.

Stress Your Pet-Friendly Policies

Finally, if you allow pets in your rentals, emphasize this in your rental application. Pet-friendly properties are non-negotiable for pet owners, so your pet-friendly properties are an instant attraction.

If you don’t mention pets in your rental application, you’ll be receiving lots of calls about this question anyway. Instead, emphasize your pet policy up front. This way, your tolerance can become part of your marketing approach as you appeal to tenants on the hunt for pet-friendly housing.

Master the Rental Application

The importance of your rental application cannot be understated. If your application is accessible, clear, and persuasive, you will soon find yourself with a solid application pool and qualified renters to fill your vacancies.

Also Read: 8 Signs The Exterior Of Your House Needs A Repaint.

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