How to Streamline the Leasing Process in 3 Easy Steps

Written on November 25, 2014 by

Streamline the Leasing ProcessGrowth is good, but not being prepared for it can detrimental to your success.

As the number of rental units I own and manage has increased, the time spent in the leasing stage has also elevated.

Streamlining my leasing process has been the single most influential action that I have taken for successful and low stress growth. I started out with a well-documented leasing plan – one that was easy to follow and automated the majority of the process.

Having a documented plan will:

  • Simplify day-to-day operations
  • Assist in raising rents
  • Help with knowledge transfer to assistants or employees
  • Eliminate the need to reinvent the wheel year after year

Step 1: Marketing & Advertising

Identify your Referral Sources

Identifying where your renters come from is an important step in deciding how and where to market your properties.

Possible lead generation sources could be:

  • Referrals
  • Craigslist
  • Rental websites
  • Social media
  • Your business website

If you don’t have time/money to spend on all of your lead generation sources, choose those that are most productive and that you can do well.

Example: From tracking my rental leads, I know that the majority of my leads come from online rental sites and our business website. The least productive lead generation source for me is social media. So it makes sense for me to spend the majority of my resources on the top lead sources.

Related: The Landlord’s Guide to Marketing with Craigslist

Create a Unified Brand

Consistency with your business identity across all marketing avenues will help people remember you and your properties.

What do you mean by business identity?

Your identity is just as it sounds.  It is what your business represents.

Along with using the same business name, phone number and email address in your marketing, strive to use the same logo, taglines, images and language style.

And maybe this sounds obvious or completely silly, but document your usernames and passwords in an accessible and secure location for the various marketing venues you use. For tech-savvy landlords, using a tool like 1Password will make your life easier.

This simple step will save you time and frustration as well as some sweat and tears.  I would know.

Step 2: Showings & Appointments

Set Expectations

Prior to marketing any of the properties for rent, be sure to set the expectations for showings with your existing tenants. My expectations look something like this:

  • Tenants will receive at least 24 hour notice via email or text
  • Regular time conflicts are established prior to any showing requests  (example: no showings before 11am on weekends)
  • The house must be in showing condition – clean and every room accessible

Related: How to Host a Landlord’s Open House

Pre-screen Applicants

Fielding inquiries and qualifying prospective renters can be quick and easy and in my experience is a requirement before scheduling a showing.

During the fielding and qualifying steps, I respond immediately if possible (no more than 24 hours) and ensure that the prospective tenant is aware of the property requirements such as:

  • Rental rate
  • Utility fees
  • Maximum occupancy rules
  • Showing availability.

Isn’t all of that information already in your advertisements?

Yes, the majority of it is, however prospective tenants are looking at tens if not hundreds of properties and you want to be sure that your property meets their requirements and vice versa before investing further time.

Related: The Landlord’s Guide to Tenant Screening

Step 3: Application Review, Lease Signing & Deposit Collection

At the time of showings, I let tenants know how our leasing process works.

  • First application(s) received are the first to be considered
  • Application review = 48 hours or less
  • Lease signing = within 3 days of application approval notification
  • Full deposit is due at lease signing

By setting the expectation in advance, it builds trust and instills a sense of urgency.

The next step is the application process. If you do not already have an online application process in place, Cozy lets you collect online applications for free.

Are you worried about security of online applications?  Listen to “Ask Lucas 012”, a Q&A podcast that addresses that very question.

Once the application(s) are approved and the lease signing appointment has been set, send a copy of the lease for their review along with details on how you accept deposits

Sending the lease in advance gives both parties a few opportunities:

  • the tenants can come prepared with questions
  • you can spend more time highlighting the areas that are of great importance to you as the manager
  • sets the stage for open dialogue between you and your new tenants

And there you have it, a streamlined leasing process to make your job easier and business more successful!

Learn More:

Lucas Hall discusses more about the rental automation process on the popular podcast “Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever with Joe Fairless”:

photo credit: Éole via cc
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