With many rental marketplaces moving to online forums and social media platforms, it’s easier than ever to find renters online.

Designated platforms make it easier than ever 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 & run background checks on any potential applicants.

Where to Find Renters Online

Of course, 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 Doorsteps

Sites like Realtor.com and Doorsteps 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, Realotr.com and Doorsteps are free to use.

As a bonus, if you’re using RentRedi to manage your rentals, your available units are automatically syndicated to Realtor.com and Doorsteps!

Facebook Marketplace

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! 

Craigslist

Craigslist is another popular site to find renters online. Landlords and roommates can post available units and invite applicants to apply. Similar to Facebook Marketplace above, if you’re using RentRedi’s property management system, you can post a link that invites tenants to directly prequalify 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!

Tenant Prescreening

As a first step, you can set up a tenant prescreening process. This is usually done via phone call or you can use a standardized form like RentRedi’s built-in prequalification 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. 

Rental Application

After you’ve prescreened 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 RentRedi if you use RentRedi as a property management software. When tenants download the RentRedi 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.

Credit Check   

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 Check

Background checks (also called tenant screening reports) can provide you with more information on your renter’s background.

For example, RentRedi partners with TransUnion to provide landlords full background reports that include a tenant’s credit, criminal, and eviction history.

  1. All you have to do is invite an application to apply & complete the screening request
  2. Your tenant downloads RentRedi, fills out the mobile application & fulfills the screening request
  3. Your applicant only pays $35 for TransUnion to run their report & you get an application & complete background check!

Final Thoughts

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, Doorsteps, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist can help ensure that you’re able to find renters online.

With application and screening tools like RetnRedi’s rental application and TransUnion-certified background checks, you’re able to easily narrow down your candidate pool to the most qualified tenants for your rentals!