The Cozy Blog

Introducing the Newest Member of Team Cozy: Jimmy Moncrief

Written on April 17, 2015 by Lucas Hall

We’re excited to announce that Jimmy Moncrief has joined Team Cozy!

Jimmy owns multiple rental properties in Tennessee and is joining Cozy as a content writer on Landlordology, our free landlord education site.

Jimmy Moncrief

Notably, Jimmy is a bank underwriter, commercial loan creditor, landlord, and real estate investor. He is also the mastermind behind Real Estate Finance HQ and has been wrangling finances for the majority of his life.

Jimmy’s career started at the age of 12, when he won a stock market investing competition against thousands of contestants! He went on to become a stock analyst and hedge fund partner at a Fortune 500 company. He found his niche by combining his deep understanding of finances with his love for real estate.

As Landlordology and Cozy continue to grow, we are attracting many large-asset landlords, managers, and investors. Jimmy has the heart of a teacher and loves to educate others on tips and tricks to creative and successful financing.

Jimmy brings firsthand landlording and finance experience to the Landlordology community, and we’re overjoyed to have him in the Cozy family. He is a wealth of knowledge for anyone looking to finance investment properties, or hoping to learn more about building a profitable portfolio.

Check out his recent articles on Landlordology and feel free to connect with him in the comments or on his personal website.

The Best Way to Collect Rent: Cozy

Written on April 16, 2015 by Ravi Dehar

The best way to collect rent is online, and while we're certainly biased, Cozy is the best way to do it. Here are three reasons why.

1. Cozy is free!

Cozy doesn't cost you or your tenants anything to collect and pay rent every month via bank transfer. There are no transaction fees, monthly fees, or any other fees. Cozy makes money on tenant credit reports, and we don't charge for rent collection.

2. Cozy is automatic.

For landlords, that means no more late payments. For tenants, that means one less thing to remember each month. A few days before rent is due, we'll send a reminder email to tenants about their upcoming payment. But there's no need to login or even push a button to make sure their rent gets paid on time. It's all done automatically.

3. Cozy makes collecting roommates' payments easier.

With Cozy, roommates don't need to worry about collecting multiple payments to submit to their landlord. Cozy automatically aggregates the payments and submits one full payment to the landlord, automatically. It's better for landlords too: you no longer need to worry about partial payments.

What should you charge for a tenant credit report?

Written on April 10, 2015 by Ravi Dehar

Nothing! Let Cozy handle your tenant credit check.

If you're a landlord, Cozy can take care of the billing and identity verification for you. You don't have to worry about collecting payments and sensitive personal information like Social Security numbers.

All you need is your applicants' email addresses, and we take care of the rest. They'll receive an email with a link to verify their identity, pay the $19.95, and receive their credit report.

The system works better for tenants, too. Their information is kept secure, and the credit checks are soft checks that don't harm their credit. It's a win-win.

Cozy credit checks are instant, landlords get an email as soon as an applicant's credit score has been shared with them.

With Cozy, you don't need to charge your tenants anything to apply, and the price they pay for their credit report is extremely competitive.

Check prospective tenant credit today.

Introducing Mobile-Friendly Rental Applications

Written on April 03, 2015 by Chris Rivard

We’ve been hard at work these past few months making sure that Cozy works perfectly on all devices, including smartphones. With the launch of mobile-friendly rental applications, available today, we’ve made a huge step forward in our goal to offer the best user experience for renters across all devices.

Mobile Rental Application

Potential tenants can now apply for your rentals right from their mobile devices.

If you’re showing your vacant unit to some interested potential tenants, you can give them your Cozy rental application link, and they’ll be able to apply immediately through Cozy on their phone. They can even run and share their credit report! You can now make a decision instantly, while you’re showing the unit.

Cozy applications are now the easiest for renters too.

House-hunters frequently visit multiple units in a single day — perhaps dedicating an entire Saturday to finding their next home. Cozy makes it easier than ever for potential tenants to apply quickly and securely while they’re still looking at vacant units. For crowded markets like San Francisco and New York, getting an application in early can make all the difference when landlords are reviewing applications in the order they’re received.

Easier rental applications mean more applicants.

Renters using Cozy can fill out their renter profile once and, if they’re applying to another property using Cozy, their rental application is automatically transferred.

We’ve got more to do.

The new mobile-friendly rental applications are just another step in our ongoing process to rethink the tools landlords use most. We’ve already redesigned the credit report, and we’ve made it easier for tenants to manage their rent payments on the go. In the coming months, we’ll be introducing even more new tools and ways for landlords to use Cozy for end-to-end property management on any device.

To get started, sign up for Cozy's free landlord tools.

Instant Tenant Screening with Cozy

Written on March 31, 2015 by Ravi Dehar

Tenant screening is all about finding the right tenant to fill your vacancy — both quantitatively, with a tenant credit report, and qualitatively, with information provided by the applicant about their history, pets, and more.

Tenant screening services like Cozy certainly don't replace face-to-face meetings with potential tenants, but they can help you keep information about prospective tenants secure and organized. In many areas, fair housing laws suggest (and may even require) reviewing applicants in the order in which they're received. On Cozy, your applications are stored in that order.

Cozy helps save time when you're screening tenants to fill a vacancy. By using the free online rental application, you'll get an email instantly each time someone applies to your property.

Our credit reports only take a few seconds to run after your applicant has confirmed their identity and paid the modest $19.95 fee. Once that happens and they've shared the results with you, we send you an email instantly. You can also choose to request a credit report from each applicant at the time they apply, which will speed up your selection process once you've narrowed down your pool of interested applicants.

What's more, by posting the link to your online rental application directly in the ads where you're posting the vacancy, you can increase the number of applicants you receive — and be able to make your decision even faster.

How I Used Cozy to Rent My Apartment

Written on March 20, 2015 by Ravi Dehar

When I moved to Portland to join Team Cozy, I left behind my place in Oakland. Even though I became a landlord by accident, Cozy makes it easy for me to manage my property remotely. Here's how I maximize Cozy to save time for me and my tenants:

Put the rental application link directly in your Craigslist ad

Getting a pre-screened list of applicants saved me lots of time. Cozy's rental application is free for both landlords and tenants, and while it doesn't take more than a few minutes to complete, it's a great way to find people who are serious about renting your space.

In my case, I posted the application URL in the Craigslist ad, and that's it — there were enough people to fill out the application in advance that I didn't end up sending the application to anyone else that emailed me. I had my existing tenant showing the place as well, so having people fill out the application in advance made sure they were serious and wouldn't waste his time.

Request a credit report at the time of application

With Cozy, you have the option of requiring all applicants to submit a credit report, or requesting credit reports from individual applicants once you've reviewed the rest of their information. By asking applicants to provide a credit report with their application, you'll have all the basic information you need to evaluate their application in one place. (Of course, you still need to meet with them in person to make their personality is a good fit and they like they place!) Cozy's credit reports are soft checks that don't impact applicants' credit scores, and they're safer too, because landlords no longer need to collect Social Security numbers to run credit checks.

Screen applicants in the order you receive their applications

I gave people the option of filling out the application before or after touring the unit, but with the understanding that I'd review applications in the order they were received as an incentive to fill it out early.

Communicate outside Cozy

I like to email everyone as soon as they apply, letting them know that I received the application and that we should schedule a viewing. Since many applicants may be using Cozy for the first time, they may not know what to expect, so it's good to confirm that you're evaluating the application and are planning to meet them.

Make electronic rent payment part of the lease

I use a standard lease agreement from my state (California). I've chosen electronic bank transfer as my preferred rent payment on the lease. I've been fortunate that my tenant prefers that method too, but having it in writing eliminates any doubt. And because online rent payments are free for everyone on Cozy, it's a win-win.

Cozy makes it easier for accidental landlords like myself to manage my rental property, even though I don't even live in the same state. It's free for landlords with any number of properties, so give Cozy's rental property management software a try today!

Better Tenant Credit Reports from Cozy

Written on March 13, 2015 by Chris Rivard

In February we launched the ability for landlords to request credit reports at the beginning of the application process. If you need to screen applicants you can now check tenant credit in just a few clicks, with only a name and email address. It’s no cost to the landlord and the applicant pays just $19.95.

Tenant Credit Report

In speaking to customers directly and through our customer advisory group, we found that some wanted to view more detailed information in the credit report itself. We took a hard look at the information we're providing and considered how we could provide a more in-depth report.

Along with a visual refresh of the report itself, we’ve been hard at work updating information in the report to include account types, status of those accounts and whether the accounts are in good standing. The goal in providing this information is to assist landlords in making good choices when selecting renters.

We’ve got a few surprises just around the corner, but wanted to give you an idea of the direction we’re going. Hope you like it! And if you have any questions - feel free to reach out to our amazing support team at support@cozy.co.

Cozy Credit Reports: The Best Transunion SmartMove Alternative

Written on March 13, 2015 by Ravi Dehar

Running credit reports on Cozy just became a whole lot easier. As we mentioned last month, credit reports on Cozy are no longer tied to a rental application. That means, if you've already got a completed application, or just prefer to use your own, you can still use Cozy for credit reports and free online rent collection. Cozy credit reports are free for landlords.

It now takes just a few seconds to request a credit report from an applicant. To get started, all you need is their names and email addresses (you can request as many as you'd like at once).

That's right — no need to collect Social Security numbers or any other sensitive information from your applicants.

Check tenant credit now.

Cozy's credit reports are better for tenants, too. They only cost $19.95, and they're soft credit checks that provide you with the data you need to make an informed decision, without damaging applicants' credit scores. The data comes straight from Experian, too, so you know you can trust it.

Compared with a service like SmartMove, Cozy is easier to use and more affordable for a lot of landlords and tenants. For one, Cozy's credit reports are just $19.95 — $5 less than SmartMove's basic screening services, and $15 less than the version that includes a full credit report.

Learn more about Cozy's secure tenant credit reports.

Even Better Support at Cozy

Written on March 12, 2015 by Katie Harlow

Here at Cozy, we’re adding thousands of new customers every month. This means our support team is talking to more new folks every day. We’re a startup with a small support team, but we want to ensure that we’re always providing the best support to our customers, on the rare occasions they need it. In thinking through how to make sure we’re scaling our support effectively, we came up with two big topics: coverage and consistency.

Up until recently, we offered support Monday through Friday, with minimal coverage on weekends. But with a growing customer base, we saw the need for staffing 7 days a week. So, we’re now available via email on Saturdays and Sundays too!

Our goal is to make sure we’re all communicating clearly and empathetically. And, in order to provide a consistently wonderful support experience for our customers, we’ve developed a Cozy Style Guide. As Cozy experts, we want to be able to share our knowledge so that our customers both learn something new and feel glad they reached out to us.

The guide includes tips on grammar and punctuation, but the real heart of it is the Voice and Tone piece. This section addresses concrete ways that we can ensure we’re communicating clearly and personably while really connecting with our customers. Here are some of the highlights that we came up with:

  • First and foremost, sound human! That is, be friendly, conversational, and approachable.
  • Use the customer’s name when possible.
  • Be clear: Use easy to understand language and avoid jargon.
  • Be concise: Use short sentences and leave out unnecessary words or details.
  • Be specific: Reference the particulars of a customer’s situation/account.
  • Try to match the customer’s tone. If they’re upbeat and excited, feel free to reflect that. If they’re frustrated or annoyed, express empathy.
  • Say you’re sorry for mistakes, bugs, or other problems.
  • Speak for yourself: use “I” instead of “we” when appropriate.

So, what can you expect when you reach out to our support team? First, you can expect to hear back from us any any day of the week. We’re available 8 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time, every day. You can also expect that no matter who you’re emailing with, we’re doing our best to get you the information you need in an easily digestible way so that you can get back to work as quickly as possible. And, our Help Center is available 24/7 to answer your questions, too!

Introducing the Newest Member of Team Cozy, Kat Gomm

Written on March 12, 2015 by Gino Zahnd

This week, Kat Gomm joined Team Cozy as our new Office Manager. That title sells her role short though, because she heads up bookkeeping, payroll, HR/benefits administration, facilities management and operations, and is also my assistant. If you deal with Cozy behind the scenes, you'll almost certainly deal with Kat.

Kat Gomm

Kat has storied resume that spans corporate administration, HR, project management, sales & marketing, and customer care. She joins Cozy from NACCO Materials Handling Group (they make all sorts of cool forklifts and other industrial products), where she was the Executive Assistant to their CIO and VP of Global Product Development.

She's a native Portlander (rare, indeed!), and spends as much time as possible traveling to international spots off the beaten path.

Welcome, Kat!