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5 Reasons to Implement Online Rental Applications

May 14 2012

We've been covering a series of RentJuice whitepapers focused on the changing needs of rental professionals. The series continues today with a paper that spotlights a very important issue: digitizing the leasing process with online rental applications. We're going to concentrate on several key reasons that rental professionals should implement online applications here, but we recommend you download the whitepaper for free from RentJuice.com for the full scoop.

Important note: While this article will talk specifically about rental applications, many of the concepts discussed also apply to documents related to real estate sales. Going "paperless" for real estate is an important trend, one that is supported with a variety of solutions (such as electronic signatures, document management, and transaction management).

Before we go into the benefits of online rental applications, let's talk about the alternative: traditional "paper" rental applications. While paper applications are more common than their online counterparts, there's a growing trend to digitize the application and leasing process. Moving this process online has benefits for both renters and for rental professionals.

1) Online applications save you money.
Paper is expensive. RentJuice cites the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which finds that the average U.S. office worker uses more than 10,000 sheets of paper per year – that's more than 20 boxes and represents about $800 per worker. But paper isn't the only expense associated with traditional applications. There's also the cost of storage (cabinets, file folders, etc.), ink, and the time spent organizing the documents – time that could be better spent growing your business.

rentjuice table

2) Online applications are secure.
Rental applications contain a plethora of highly sensitive information (i.e. social security numbers, credit card info, etc.) Now, let's be clear – either paper applications or online applications can be completely secure if you take the proper steps. However, the RentJuice whitepaper suggests the paper applications carry excess risk of losing confidential information.

In the whitepaper, RentJuice states:

According to a study by the Ponemon Institute, a data protection and information security research company, 61 percent of individuals said that there were not enough resources available in the workplace to secure paper documents with sensitive or confidential information. The best way to avoid losing valuable paper documents is to not use them. Digitized paperwork stored in rental management software won't be left behind on a desk, so your renters' information is safeguarded from ending up in the wrong hands.

3) Online applications are mobile.
You're constantly on-the-move and so are prospective renters. Online applications can be sent from anywhere and signed anywhere (as long as you have access to a mobile device like a laptop, tablet, etc.), making them more convenient for you and for your clients.

4) Renters prefer to apply for housing online.
The National Apartment Association conducted a study that returned the following results:

rentjuice graph

As you can see, online applications are what renters prefer. Gaining new customers is an obvious necessity, and we just discussed the importance of keeping the customers you've got.

5) Online applications are faster.
Signing online and digitally returning an application is significantly faster than filling-in applications by hand and driving/walking to an office to return the application. It's also easier to store and access information digitally than to deal with a cumbersome physical filing system.

For additional information on each of these points, as well as additional benefits, be sure to read the full whitepaper, available free from our friends at RentJuice. They can also help you take the next step in digitizing your application process.

About RentJuice
RentJuice is a rental marketing platform. It provides brokers and property managers with the tools they need to find tenants and sign them to leases as quickly as possible. The company is growing by leaps in bounds – announcing recently that they have hit over a million listings and officially launched in San Francisco.

If you follow real estate technology news, you've probably also heard that RentJuice was recently acquired by Zillow. We recommend you read the press releasepress release for more info!

To learn more, you can visit RentJuice.comRentJuice.com.