Automated income verification from The Closing Docs provides deep insight into any applicant’s ability to pay rent by revealing their net income. Here are some best practices to support getting the best results, quickly.
Make it clear to applicants that an income verification request is coming
Include our automated income verification into your rental application process, and let your applicants know that you will verify their income through The Closing Docs. If you have a packet you hand out to applicants, include it there, and also tell them verbally what to expect.
Here is sample language used by many of our customers which yields ~99% compliance: “Please expect an income verification request via both an email and a text from The Closing Docs, a fully encrypted and secure service, which may eliminate the need for actual bank statements.”
They are increasingly likely to look for and complete the request if they know it’s coming. Be sure to let them know that if they are having trouble completing the income verification, they can reach out to us through the chat widget on the bottom-right corner of their screen during the workflow, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When applicants are reluctant, how do you ease their minds?
Our data suggests this sort of resistance arises in less than 1% of cases. If your data suggests it's more frequent, the below ideas and messaging should help.
The Closing Docs is in-network with 99% of the financial institutions serving the U.S. Sharing this tidbit often puts people at ease, especially when you point how those institutions would dump us fast enough to make your head spin if there were any funny business going on. Also, we're 100% compliant with the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. Same story. They would shut us down immediately if it were warranted. Finally, we're supporting companies managing hundreds of thousands of doors, all over the country, who rely on our services to get applicants approved and existing tenants renewed.
To reiterate, we have learned from our own testing as well as from clients that the best results come when you are sure to let the applicant know in advance the request is forthcoming and what it entails. We have folks explain it's a bit like credit screening but less invasive (don't have to share social security number). Also, the independent income verification leaves them sharing less info than uploading statements (account numbers) and pay stubs (company info, deductions detail about health care coverage or other deductions). That lays the groundwork early on in conveying it's a required step in the process. When they then receive the invite, it's not news nor is it strange.
And, a good one we've heard from customers is when they tell applicants who are uneasy, "Look, we're in the business of getting you into a new home, not fraud. If we were fraudsters, I could assume your identity. You've given me your social, your address, your DL number, where you work, vehicle license plates, etc. We are setting up a relationship for success and that starts with trust. Let's work together to get you into a new home."
Should I confirm the income of existing tenants prior to offering a renewal?
A lot can change over 12 months, so before you offer a renewal, it’s a smart business practice to re-confirm existing tenants’ capacity to pay rent going forward.
Integrate our income verification into your property management software
If you use property management software, we have built many integrations that allow you to send requests and view automated income verification reports directly from within your property management software. Integrations like these prevent toggling between tabs, and keep you relying on the tools you love.
Request by text and email to capture more applicants
Although many people have an email address, not everybody uses them. You can include the applicant’s phone number when creating a screening request to send an invite via text message. They will receive a link inviting them to complete the automated income verification.
Not only are text messages more likely to get quickly noticed, but your applicants can complete the income verification screening directly from their phones.
Add all roommates to the same screening request for a holistic picture of their income
When you have multiple applicants applying as roommates, or will include co-signers in the application cycle, it can be time consuming and convoluted to determine the combined household’s ability to pay the total rent. Including more than one applicant in a screening request will result in a combined income report for the entire household, while also showing individual income detail for each party.
Give applicants a deadline
If your applicants know that the income verification needs to be done within 24 hours, they are much more likely to complete the screening request immediately. Make sure whatever deadline you request of your rental applicants is in-line with your state laws on applications.
Send them a reminder
If your applicant has been unresponsive or cannot find the income verification screening request, you can resend the notification to them. If you initially attached the applicant’s phone number, this will also resend the text message.