With many rental marketplaces moving to online forums and social media platforms, it’s easier than ever to find potential renters online.
There are many online platforms and websites that make it easy for landlords to post their vacancies and tenants to find their future homes. However, if you’re new to navigating the online market or just new to being a landlord, it can be difficult to know where to start finding tenants online. This article will help show you common platforms where you can find renters online, as well as how to send applications and run background checks on any potential applicants.
While you can still find areas where available rentals are advertised in local newspapers or even flyers around town, most landlords typically find renters online. If you’re just buying your first rental property or looking for tenants for the first time, you might struggle with where to find tenants online.
To start, let’s cover three popular free places where you can find renters online.
Realtor.com and Rentable
Sites like Realtor.com and Rentable are widely used as listing platforms for landlords looking to find tenants for their units. Naturally, there are many more listings platforms you can research and post your listing on, but typically these sites will charge you a listing fee. However, Realtor.com and Rentable are free to use.
As a bonus, if you’re using Tenantcube to manage your rentals, your available units are automatically syndicated to Realtor.com, Rentable as well as all other major listing sites!
Because of its social media popularity, Facebook Marketplace is one of the best free rental listings sites. It’s a very common platform to use when looking for renters. If you have a Facebook account, it is very easy to post your available rental and the renters will find you!
Sharing on social media is another popular method to find renters online. Landlords and roommates can share available units on their networks and invite applicants to apply. Similar to Facebook Marketplace above, if you’re using Tenantcube’s property management system, you can share a link that invites tenants to directly apply to your listing.
How to Have Tenants Apply
When you’re initially setting out to find a tenant, your rental listing is the most important selling point. You’ll want to post well-taken pictures that attract potential applicants, key features of the units, as well as any additional amenities that would appeal to renters.
However, after you start getting people interested in your vacancy, you’ll need a way to have them apply! You can use Tenantcube’s digital application process to make the entire process tenant-driven and incredibly convenient.
As a first step, you can set up a tenant pre-screening process. This is usually done via phone call or you can use a standardized form like Tenantcube’s free rental application template. This lets you collect initial information about the renter that can be used to determine if they meet your qualifications.
Qualifications might include a minimum credit score, income requirements, and non-smokers or no pet owners. Your minimum requirements will largely depend on the price of your rental and your lease policies.
After you’ve pre-screened your tenants and found a few that you’d like to learn more about, you can invite them to submit a full rental application.
What you have on your rental application might vary depending on your landlord-tenant laws or lease requirements. Some landlords also charge tenants to submit an application—not only as a method of screening out tenants who aren’t interested in their unit but also to pay to run a background check.
However, some landlords prefer to have tenants submit a free application before running a background check—leaving that as the last step for tenants.
An easy way to generate a free application for renters is by inviting them to apply via Tenantcube’s property management software. When tenants download the Tenantcube tenant app, they are able to submit a free mobile rental application to you.
How to Run a Background Check on Tenants
You’ve found good tenants—now what!?
After you find renters online that you’d be interested in having apply to your unit, now is time to begin the screening & application process!
While the process might look a little different for each landlord—because of varying minimum requirements or state renting laws—essentially, you will want to have an application and background report be part of your process.
Regardless of what you decide should be a part of your application & screening process, it is VERY important that you do not violate any housing discrimination laws.
Most landlords, if allowed by their state landlord-tenant laws, will run a credit check on a potential renter. Credit scores can indicate the likelihood that a tenant will pay their rent on time. Typically, landlords look to ensure a tenant has a minimum credit score of 620-650+.
This doesn’t mean that tenants with lower credit scores are ‘bad’ renters, so if you are receiving rental applications from tenants with lower credit scores, you might want to check their full background report or have a conversation with them about why they have a low credit score. Additionally, you might also ask for a landlord reference letter to verify that they are a good tenant who pays rent on time, even if their credit score might be on the lower end.
Background checks (also called tenant screening reports) can provide you with more information on your renter’s background.
For example, Tenantcube partners with Equifax to provide landlords full background reports that include a tenant’s credit, criminal, and eviction history.
When it comes to ensuring that your vacant unit is filled quickly, you’ll want to utilize all your resources. Using sites like Realtor.Com, Rentable, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist can help ensure that you’re able to find renters online.
With application and screening tools like Tenantcube’s rental application and Equifax-certified background checks, you’re able to easily narrow down your candidate pool to the most qualified tenants for your rentals!
Sign up for Tenantcube today, and experience a full-fledged, no-obligation free trial for one month.