With alarming frequency, I hear from managers asking me how they can stop or reduce the ‘excessively large’ number of applications they are receiving. This is a truly staggering and perplexing sentiment. To be clear: There is no such thing as ‘too many applications’. The job of a real estate agent / letting manager (or any business operator for that matter) is to correctly price and present stock such that the supply of stock available is equalized against its demand. This is absolutely basic economics and should be the first thing every licenced agent learns in day 1 of their licence training. It certainly was when I did mine: As an agent you work for the vendor/landlord/owner and have not just an ethical, but a legal and fiduciary obligation to achieve the maximum return on their investment.
Shamelessly complaining about too many applications is an absurdity. It’s like complaining you have too much money, or too many customers. There’s simply no such thing! Receiving too many applications isn’t a problem – it’s a symptom. A symptom of a serious disservice being committed to owners who are trusting a manager to bring their property to market. Owners who have an expectation that their manager will use knowledge, experience, and resources to ensure the listing achieves the maximum possible price in the market. If managers find themselves inundated with applications such that they cannot even process them all, they have failed in this task. If rent was underestimated by 15%, on a $500 a week rental, that’s a loss to that owner of $75 a week! This failure to correctly price their property just cost them around $4000 a year! The owner should be the one screaming in rage if they had any idea how much this failure has just cost them! It simply should not happen.
Listings should be marketed to get the maximum amount of engagement possible, and the price should be used to limit the number of applications resulting from that engagement. To this end, professional photography, floor plans, tours should be employed so that the property stands out from the rest. Listings should be upgraded to ensure they not only look great, but appear at the top of the results for prospects. Spend $500 on marketing to command an additional $50 a week in rent is well worth the investment. Once the listing looks amazing, and presents amazingly, the price mechanism should be employed as a filter to reduce the number of applications that result (remember, you only need one… and perhaps one or two backups).
Present your listings professionally, monitor the market, use the tools available to you (Rental Demand Database, Price Finder, Core Logic) and for goodness sakes NEVER complain you’ve got too many applications, there’s literally no such thing!