Prescreening Tenants? Ask These Questions First

How important is prescreening tenants? Your rental process is a real estate investment, and it’s important that you pick the perfect renter to live that rental.

However, the path to selecting that perfect renter can be cumbersome. Scheduling viewings, sifting through applications, getting tenants to submit a background check—all this takes time and therefore money.

If you’re wondering how much money this costs, take your monthly rent divided by the # of days of that money ($ Monthly Rent / # Month Days = Daily Vacancy Costs) — that’s how much a standing vacancy costs you every day.

That’s why prescreening tenants is critical to quickly narrowing down your prospective tenant pool, ensuring you find the best candidates and save time and money along the way.

What is prescreening?

In general, prescreening functions as an initial tenant screening process that is less rigorous or formal than the actual application process.

It typically takes place before a tenant has scheduled a showing or submitted their application or background check.

Why ask tenant prescreen questions?

Prescreening tenants has many benefits for both landlords and applicants. The primary purpose of tenant prescreening is to save both landlord and tenant time and money.

  • Saves money for tenant’s who don’t have to pay for a background check when they aren’t qualified for the rental
  • Saves time for you, you don’t have to show apartments to tenants who aren’t qualified or don’t meet your minimum requirements.
  • Also, if you have an overwhelming submission of applications, this can help save time sorting through applications, as you can easily see which tenants meet your criteria and which don’t.

What to ask for prescreening questions?

When it comes to determining what questions are appropriate for your prescreening questionnaire, it will come down to your minimum requirements.

Every landlord has different requirements, so creating a list of yours will help you decide which to include in a prequalification or prescreening process.

In general, most landlords ask for tenant self-reported information regarding their: 

  • Credit 
  • Income / Job 
  • Guarantor information
  • Criminal background
  • Smoking 
  • Pets

How to prescreen tenant applicants?

How you prescreen tenants will be up to you and your preferred communication channels.

Some landlords, for example, like prescreening tenants over the phone. Some landlords create a Google form with their questions and email that to their potential renters.

To make the prescreening process efficient for you, RentRedi includes a prequalification questionnaire built right into the app that landlords can easily send to applicants.

RentRedi’s prescreening makes it easy to:

  • Invite tenants to complete a 10-question survey already built into the RentRedi tenant app
  • Review self-reported responses about financial information, pets, smoking, and criminal history
  • Quickly identify whether or not an applicant meets your criteria before you schedule a tour

Prescreening letter to prospective tenants?

If you’re interested in adapting prescreening as part of your application process, drafting a simple letter template can help you optimize how you prequalify tenants.

RentRedi already has a built-in invitation that is emailed to tenants when you invite them to complete a prescreening. The email instructs them on how to download the RentRedi & complete their questionnaire.

This process is useful to ensure the applicants are invested in your rental and eager to submit their information!

Prescreening Tenants is the First Step Towards The Perfect Tenant

Prescreening is a crucial part of the vetting process when it comes to narrowing down your list of interested renters. 

Especially if you set minimum standards for your applications, prescreening is crucial to saving you time and money (and the applicants as well), because it enables you to easily discern whether or not the applicant is qualified for your rental.

Because prescreening is so important to the tenant process, RentRedi has prequalifications built right into the app.

This makes it easy for landlords to email the tenant an invitation to complete the prequalification questionnaire, review the self-reported information, and make a decision as to whether or not to process with the tenant!