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!