How to Tell Which Applicants Are Serious

The world of real estate is filled with looky-loos -- you know, those potential buyers and renters who seem to make it a hobby to stop by your open house or schedule a private showing. We’ve put together some great advice so that you can learn how to tell which applicants are serious about that rental property you’re representing -- and which ones are just wasting your time and energy.

June 14, 2017

3 min read


Your open house is a hit. Tons of people flock to your rental property, but how can you tell if they’re actually interested in applying, and not a dreaded lookie-loo? The last thing you want to do is hound down applicants to complete their online rental application only to find out that they were never interested in actually applying.

These window shoppers can waste your time and distract you from the clients who are actually interested in the property, losing you business in the process.So what can you do to discern the serious applicants from the not-so-serious? Follow these tips to spot a lookie-loo from a mile away.

Send an Online Rental Application on the Spot

It’s important that you establish a sense of urgency early with your applicants. The moment that they express interest in the property, whether through a phone call or open house, send them the LeaseLink™ to an online rental application for the property (if you’re on top of your game your application will come with screening reports attached).

Mark a strict and realistic deadline for your applicants to complete their applications. Express that you refuse to accept late applications. In addition, let your applicants know that there is a fee associated with the online rental application. If a $30 application fee is enough to turn them away, chances are they were never that serious about applying in the first place.

Beware of Excuses

While it might be a bit of a stretch, this clip from "I Love You Man" illustrates the excuses of a lookie-loo

Excuses are a lookie-loo’s best friend. While it’s best to give them the benefit of the doubt most times, you should be aware of some of the more obvious excuses. Here are some examples.

"We’ll Think About It"

You sent this applicant an online rental application to fill out a week ago. The deadline is coming up and you want to check in to see if they’re still interested. You give them a call, and they say, "we need a little more time to think about it before we apply."

What is there to think about? Applying for the property does not bind them to it whatsoever, and besides the application fee they have nothing to lose by applying (if you use a soft credit inquiry for your screening reports.

The truth is, many people have a difficult time telling people no, even if it is over the phone. They would rather delay everything until you make a decision, that way they don’t have to tell you they’re not interested themselves. Instead of pushing for a hard no, give these types of applicants what they want and move on.

"I’m Not Comfortable With My Credit Being Run"

Like a good agent, you’ve informed your applicants that they will undergo a tenant verification process, which includes screening reports like a credit check, criminal background check, and eviction history.

While a tenant would have a valid reason to balk at this if you use a hard credit inquiry which can damage their credit score, you use a soft credit inquiry for your screening reports. Inform them of this, and if they still say that they’d rather run the credit themselves or would rather not have their credit pulled at all, they are probably hiding something. Move on.

"I’m Just Here for the Food"

screening reports

While this might not be an explicitly said excuse, if you notice that a patron of your open house spends more time at the spread you prepared than actually looking at the house, you know where their true priorities lie.

While there is never anything wrong with enjoying some free food, you probably shouldn’t actively pursue the guy that just scarfed down 10 finger sandwiches. Be aware that they may feel compelled to fake interest in the property in order to justify their gluttony. While it won’t hurt to send them a LeaseLink™ to an online rental application and screening report package, don’t be surprised if you hear nothing back from them by your deadline.

Don’t Waste Time Hounding Down Your Applicants

People forget - that’s part of being human. You should give your applicants a reminder call/email if they haven’t submitted their application if your deadline is approaching. However, it shouldn’t take more than one call to get your applicants to get moving.

Establish a "my time is valuable" attitude early with your applicants. If your applicants do not respect that, then you should move on.


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