Rental Application Guide & Tutorial

Rental Application Guide, Tips & Troubleshooting

Welcome to our online Rental Application. In order to make your application process as smooth as possible, we high recommend that you read through this quick guide and review the tips and resources on this page before beginning the rental application. When you’re ready to begin the application, click the large blue button that says “Rental Application” below.

Below are a few troubleshooting tips covering the most common issues users face when using our rental application.

Tip 1: Collect your required supporting documents before you begin filling out the rental application (to prevent the application from timing out).

Required Documents

  • your last 2 pay stubs or les and proof of any additional income
  • your most recent irs schedule “c” if you are self-employed
  • a copy of the signed lease if you have rental property
  • any lease contingencies
  • a copy of your drivers license

required documents_WJD

Tip 2: While we do not recommend using a mobile device to complete our rental application, if you must, please be sure to continue using the browser. Do not try to install the PDF Filler app.

rental application tips

Tip 3: When completing the rental application, we recommend that you send yourself a copy. Do not choose to save to PDF Filler. If you do not wish to save your completed document press continue.

Tip 4: Do not try to upload documents here. There is a separate screen for submitting documents.

Tip 5: Your Real Estate Agent’s BRIGHT MRIS ID# is a required field. Be sure to obtain the ID from your showing agent for the application.

rental application tip

Rental Application Tutorial

Rental Application FAQs

Looking for answers to our most common Rental Application FAQs? Below are answers to the most common questions Realtors have about WJD’s Rental Application process.

  1. Which Rental Application should I use?
  2. Can my clients move in earlier than the property’s available date?
  3. What is your policy regarding pets?
  4. What if my clients want some repairs or improvements made to the property?
  5. My clients have some credit issues. Will they be approved?
  6. Do you accept co-signers?
  7. My clients are three unrelated adults, will you accept them?
  8. What funds do my clients have to submit with their application?
  9. How should they pay these funds?
  10. Is there any information I need to give my clients for the Rental Application?
  11. I live far from your office, how should I get their Rental Application and funds to you?
  12. How long will it take to process?
  13. If my client’s application is declined, when will they get their security deposit back?
  14. My clients have signed their lease and would now like to see the home again. Is it ok to show it to them?
  15. When can I get a copy of the signed lease and my commission?
  16. When can I do the walk-through inspection with my clients?

Which Rental Application should I use?

Only the WJD Management Rental Application will be accepted, no exceptions. This form is interactive and is meant to be filled out on a computer, saved and emailed. It is available via the Quick Links at the bottom of our website homepage.

Can my clients move in earlier than the property’s available date?

We typically leave a 10-day window between tenancies to accomplish cleaning, repairs and improvements. We may be able to adjust the available date a day or two but no more than that.

What is your policy regarding pets?

The majority of our homeowners will consider pets with an additional security beyond the base deposit. The amount varies according to the type and size of the pet and can range from a minimum of $500 to as much as $1,000 per animal. The security deposit is refundable providing no damage has occurred.

What if my clients want some repairs or improvements made to the property?

Any requests for repairs or improvements must be submitted in writing as an addendum to the Rental Application.

My clients have some credit issues. Will they be approved?

Their credit score is just one component of the applicant profile that we assemble and present to the homeowner. Other factors include job history, rental history and debt to income ratio. We look for this ratio to be less than 40% with the cost of the proposed housing being included as part of their debt.

Do you accept co-signers?

Sorry, we are unable to accept a co-signer under any circumstances.

My clients are three unrelated adults, will you accept them?

We will of course rent to all qualified individuals. As a benchmark, every combination of two of your clients should have a debt to income ratio of less than 40%.

What funds do my clients have to submit with their application?

In order for their offer to be presented to the homeowner we must be in receipt of both the application processing fee and the base security deposit as referenced in the listing. The processing fee is $60 per party to the lease, so in the case of a married couple for example, it would be $120. If your clients intend to underbid the asking price they still must submit the security deposit that is referenced in the listing.

How should they pay these funds?

Your clients must submit the required funds electronically from our website. We do not accept checks, money orders or cash. Clients can make an online payment here. The link is also in the Quick Links section in the footer of every page on our site.

Is there any information I need to give my clients for the Rental Application?

Please give your clients your MRIS identification number (the number used to log into Matrix and Keystone), your office name and your office street address. These are required fields on page one of our Rental Application.

I live far from your office, how should I get their Rental Application and funds to you?

Because we genuinely appreciate your showing our properties, we have tried to make this process as convenient as possible. Your clients are able to do everything necessary to make application right from the WJD Website.

How long will it take to process?

Providing the Rental Application is complete we are often able to get approval within a couple of business days. The process is occasionally delayed because the homeowner is overseas with only intermittent internet access.

If my client’s application is declined, when will they get their security deposit back?

If the homeowner declines the application, we immediately advise Paylease to refund your client’s security deposit in full. This may however take a day or two for processing.

My clients have signed their lease and would now like to see the home again. Is it ok to show it to them?

The Realtor lockbox will be removed as soon as all parties have signed the lease so you will have to make arrangements with our office to pick up a key.

When can I get a copy of the signed lease and my commission?

A copy of the signed lease and your commission check will be mailed to you personally, in care of your firm, as soon as the lease has been signed by the tenant. No waiting!

When can I do the walk-through inspection with my clients?

Your clients will be given a Property Condition Report when they come to our office to pick up their keys and pay their first month’s rent. They will be instructed to advise us of any discrepancies they may note after they move in. You are welcome to assist them with the inspection if you like.

7 Tips for Retaining Good Tenants

Any landlord who has been renting out for a while can tell you of bad experiences they had with problematic tenants. Of course, not all tenants are like this, but the bad ones stick out, and we tend to remember them more. Another thing they can tell you is that good tenants are worth their weight in gold. Once you find reliable renters who never cause problems and always pay on time, you should go out of your way to make sure they feel welcome and stay with you for a long time. Here are 7 tips for retaining good tenants.

A happy couple eating in bed

Be responsive to their requests

First of all, you need to be easy to reach, so try to establish good communication and be available to receive calls and messages. When your tenants approach you with any issues, you need to respond quickly. Address maintenance issues in a timely fashion and fix things on the property without making the tenants wait for days without any reason. However, you need to be wary of tenants who constantly damage your property. If calls for repairs are too frequent, there might be an underlying issue that you need to address. However, when it comes to regular maintenance, you need to let your tenants know that you are there and willing to help.

Make new tenants feel welcome

First impressions matter, so do your best to start off on the right foot. A good way to do so is to help your new tenants get settled. You can even help them move in by recommending the movers from fairfaxtransfer.com and be there to greet them when they arrive. Being there for the move-in is a way to ensure none of your property gets damaged. It’s much better to have professionals carrying the heavy stuff than clumsy tenants who don’t know what they are doing.

Give them a tour of the property and the surrounding area and perhaps a welcoming gift. It doesn’t need to be anything special, just some cupcakes or a welcoming drink. This will set your relationship off to a good start. It’s definitely much better than just doing a move-in inspection and giving them a list of dos and don’ts. If you are looking for tips for retaining good tenants, you need to make renters want to stay in your property from day one.

Help your tenants move in and get settled

Help your tenants move in and get settled

Have the right amenities

Make sure your property is properly equipped with everything your tenants need. If you have never lived there yourself, you can consider talking to the tenants to see if anything is missing. Update the appliances, but don’t leave mismatched sets. The home will look and feel much nicer if everything is new and matches together well. You can organize a garage sale to get rid of the old unwanted items. If you want to keep your tenants happy, you can do so by keeping an eye out for their needs and requests.

Carefully approach the lease renewal

Before it’s time for the current lease to expire, talk to your tenants and remind them in advance that they are up for renewal. Most landlords have a habit of increasing the rent when the lease is renewed. Your tenants will probably expect that; just be careful not to go overboard and increase the rent too much. This is where most landlords make mistakes and scare off good tenants. One of our most important tips for retaining good tenants is to be competitive with the rent. If you have tenants that you want to keep around for a long time, you can place your rent below market value.

You can sweeten the deal and offer tenants a discount on the next month’s rent if they renew the lease. Other things you can offer them are a choice from a list of upgrades when they renew. If you realize you are having trouble setting the price or preparing the lease, you can use our leasing service to help you out.

Enforce rules fairly

Any landlord will have a set of rules, which they need to outline in the lease agreement. Besides letting your tenants know what the rules are, you need to be sure that you are enforcing them fairly and equally. Treating multiple tenants differently will only cause confusion and further conflicts. It is your job to act in a uniform manner and treat everyone the same. Sometimes you will need to remind some tenants of the rules, but remember to do so calmly. If you start losing your temper every time something goes wrong, you will have a hard time retaining good tenants.

Build a relationship

Get to know your tenants, talk to them when you meet them and ask how they are doing. Strive to keep things professional but relaxed. The foundation of any functional relationship is trust, and one of the best tips for retaining good tenants is building trust. Let your tenants know that you see them as people and that you care.

Settle disputes with other tenants

In case there are any problems between your tenants, you should try to arbitrate and settle the issue. Don’t let a few problematic tenants drive all the other ones away. Respond to noise complaints and solve similar minor problems before they grow into full-blown animosity. Don’t wait until some of your tenants start moving out before you decide to act. If you feel uneasy about such things and don’t want to take sides, you can hire a property manager to take charge of the situation.

The bottom line

As a landlord, over time, you will find that it is much better to keep reliable tenants around than to have a revolving door policy and change who is living on your property every couple of months. We’ve given you 7 tips for retaining good tenants; now it’s up to you to put them into practice.

If you would like to learn more about WJD Management, please review our comprehensive Management Program guide. If you are ready to rent your home, feel free to take advantage of our exclusive FREE Rental Market Analysis. Finally, don’t forget to connect with us on social media! Follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram, and Pinterest for tips, ideas and updates.

3 Reasons Why You Should Rent Through a Property Management Company

If you are looking for a single-family residence, a townhome or a condo rental but are unsure of difference between renting from a professional property management company versus renting directly from a homeowner or renting from a Realtor who is not working with a property management company, look no further as we explain the differences!

Why you should not rent directly from a homeowner

If the homeowner lives locally, he or she may decide to visit unannounced and/or peer into your windows. If he or she is not local, you may have difficulty reaching the owner whenever you need to get something fixed or in the event of an emergency.

If the homeowner does not use a property manager or a real estate professional when finding a tenant, he or she is evidently unwilling to incur that cost, so the home is most likely infested with DIY fixes and/or those done by questionable contractors. And you will probably be nickel and dimed to death with repair deductibles.

In addition to these issues, the owner most likely used a lease found on the internet which may not afford you adequate protection. Worst of all, your security deposit probably ended up in his or her personal checking account.

Why you should not rent from a Realtor who is not working with a professional property manager.

If you are considering using a Realtor to help you find a rental home, the individual may be the consummate professional who can find the ideal residence for you. However, if the Realtor is not working with a professional property manager, as soon as the ink is dry on your lease you’re going to be on your own and probably subjected to the  issues mentioned in the previous section. The Realtor in this case only had a contractual relationship with the homeowner for as long as it took to find a tenant. Once the lease was signed, the relationship concluded and the Realtor no longer had the authority to come to your defense should you experience and of those issues.

Why you should not rent from a professional property management company that also sells real estate.

While nearly all local professional property management companies provide a similar suite of services, believe it or not, not all property management firms are created equal! The primary difference among these firms in our area has to do with whether or not they offer real estate sales services. Typically, real estate firms focus mainly on real estate sales. The real estate industry is mostly commission-based and listing homes for sale has the potential of generating a large volume of revenue. The firms which offer professional property management as well unfortunately do this primarily as a way to create income when the sales market becomes depressed. And because property management is basically a means to an end in that regard, these firms generally allocate minimal resources for it. The property management wing of these firms is often understaffed so the property managers are constantly racing around putting out fires and trying to keep up. And their inventory of managed homes suffers accordingly as do the tenants living in these homes. Because of the vast difference between sales revenues and property management revenues, the focus of firms that offer both services will always be on sales. This is especially true for the firms which manage fewer than 100 homes. Faced with addressing a leaking dishwasher or a million dollar sale falling apart, you know what their priority is going to be.

What sets WJD Management apart from all the other professional property management companies in our area.

Of course, you can imagine we’re telling you all this to convince you that WJD Management is the best residential property management company in Northern Virginia to rent from. But the truth is, we are the only licensed real estate brokerage in our area that does not have a real estate sales arm. This means that our focus is 100% on managing the rental homes in our inventory, as our many five-star tenant reviews can attest to!

What tenants love about WJD Management 

  • Online Maintenance Request Process
  • Convenient Online Rental Payment System
  • Long-Term Renters Welcome
  • Pet-Friendly homes
  • 24/7 Emergency Service
  • Security Deposit Held in an FDIC Insured Escrow Account
  • Only Class A General Contractors Used, No “Handymen”
  • Telephone Calls Answered By A Live Staff Member

Follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram, and Pinterest for tips, ideas and updates.

5 Questions Every New Renter Should Ask

So you are not ready yet to buy a home and have decided to rent a place, here are 5 questions every new renter should ask.

(Editor’s note: For answers to these typical new renter questions, we turned to local expert and career Realtor, Harry Yazbek, Broker and Branch Vice President for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Vienna.)

Number 1 – Do I Have to Have a Realtor®?

The short answer is no, but why wouldn’t you want one? A Realtor® can become your best friend and help negotiate terms and conditions you may not even think about. The way it usually works is you sign an Agency agreement with a Realtor® and you become their client. By law and Article one of the Realtor® Code of Ethics, they must represent your best interest and protect your rights. They will negotiate with the landlord or property manager and assist with lease review and other paperwork required.

Key point: Although a Renter’s Agent is generally compensated by the landlord and not the renter, they owe the renter all the loyalty.

Number 2 – What if My Credit History Isn’t Perfect?

Your credit history is, increasingly, a key factor in all areas of your life as a consumer and as a candidate for housing. Some may protest this trend but we must accept reality in that our credit “worthiness” is a major consideration to future employers, credit cards, auto loans, licensing bureaus such as real estate and mortgage loan officers–and, of course, landlords.
There is no set credit score for renters, most landlords select their tenants based on many variables, and credit is just one of them. For example, let’s say someone had great credit then lost his/her job in a layoff. After the job loss, many payments were missed and credit suffered a great deal but a new job was secured a few months later and credit payments have been perfect ever since. To some land lords, this scenario is not as risky as someone who has consistently had bad credit over the years. The two applicants may potentially have the same score but the one who was laid off will likely present a smaller risk to the landlord

Key point: If two candidates are equal in all but their credit ratings, most landlords will take the applicant with the better credit.

Number 3 – How Much is The Rent?

Rent is usually established by current market conditions, comparable rents in the neighborhood, property condition, amenities and term of lease. Generally speaking, the longer the lease term you offer, the more likely you may be able to bargain for a reduced monthly rent. Of course this ties up the property on both ends and if market conditions change, one party will usually get the short end of the stick.

Although rent amount is technically negotiable, one needs to keep in mind what type of market we have at the moment. When homeowners were losing their properties due to foreclosure during the financial meltdown, the rental market was very hot, in favor of landlords. Basic supply and demand kicked in, the majority of those former homeowners entered the rental market and demand exceeded supply, hence rents went up drastically.

Key point: Know the market and negotiate terms accordingly.

Number 4 – Who Pays for Normal Wear and Tear and Damage?

Answer is very simple, read your lease and negotiate it. Generally speaking, normal wear and tear is not the tenant’s responsibility but the cost to repair tenant damage is and will be deducted from the security deposit. When you first move into the property, conduct a “walk-thru” inspection where you can detail and take photos of any existing damage to the place, same as you would with a rental car.

Key point: Careful inspections–with photos–mean you will not have any existing damage to a property counted against your deposit.

Number 5 – What happens if I break the lease?

A lot of bad things can happen if you break the lease, depending on how nice you were to your landlord and how pragmatic he or she happens to be. First thing the landlord can do is keep the deposit and sue for the remaining balance of the lease. Or, the landlord can find another renter to take over and sue for the amount of time the property was vacant during the transition. This will most likely have a negative impact on the renter’s credit history. I would recommend you seek counsel before attempting to break a lease. In many cases landlords are very understanding, and a transition can be done amicably (but with the cost of process being paid for by the tenant). This will probably include rental payments while the home is vacant, utility costs and yard maintenance during that period of time, as well as any Realtor® leasing fees incurred by the homeowner.

Key point: Communicate with your landlord if you must break your lease–and be prepared to bear the costs of vacancy.

To learn more answers to common new tenant questions visit our Tenant FAQ page.

 

Tenants: 18 Ways to Get Your Security Deposit Back

Tenants, are you looking for 18 ways to get your security deposit back? When everything is ready and a tenant can get 100 percent of that deposit back, it’s a big win for everyone. We want to see every tenant get their full security deposit back–and it’s important to note that WJD has no financial incentive to withhold any part of tenants’ deposit money.

For us, it’s a matter of making sure the homeowner is protected against surprise out-of-pocket maintenance expenses, repairs, or cleaning costs, and it helps guard against delays in getting the property back on the rental market.

To help make sure things go smoothly, and to help you get your deposit back, here’s our ultimate advice guide for getting every cent of your deposit back.

Please note that these are only suggestions. The process of returning a deposit is individual to each tenant, and following all of the below steps will not necessarily result in a full refund.

Immediately After You Move In

1. Review Your Property Condition Report (PCR), sign it, and return it to the WJD office within 10 days of move-in. The report states that your home is in the same condition we want it to be in at the end of your lease and will be used as a point of reference when you move out. Be sure to make detailed remarks on the form should you note any problems with the home, such as malfunctioning appliances, carpet stains, paint blemishes, etc., so that you are not charged for these issues when your security deposit is refunded.

Pro Tip: Always keep a copy of your Property Condition Report on file.

Throughout Your Tenancy:

Do yourself a favor by making sure your required maintenance is up to date. That way, when you move out, you won’t be facing a massive list of “to-do’s” that have resulted from a year of neglect. See below for suggested maintenance tips. You can also check out our  maintenance guide here, which can be found in your Tenant Handbook as well.

2. Ensure all maintenance is requested online. If something breaks, you must immediately submit a Maintenance Request from our website as we cannot take this information over the phone. Be as detailed as possible about the problem so that we can determine who to send to fix it. Do not try to fix it yourself!

3. Keep up to date on your fireplace cleaning and inspection. This must be done even if you never use the fireplace. Also remember that you are responsible for cleaning the ashes that result from burning wood, as the fire inspection company does not usually do this.

Tips to Get Your Deposit Back

4. Make sure to keep your gutters clean throughout the year. The cost of a gutter cleaning usually ranges between $50 and $200 depending on the size of your home and the amount of guttering it has. Be sure to use one of our recommended gutter cleaners for best results!

Pro Tip: At the beginning of your lease, immediately add a calendar reminder to get your gutters cleaned periodically. Try to schedule a final gutter clean about a two weeks before you move out, just to make sure they’re clear and you’ve left yourself plenty of time.

5. Replace light bulbs. We recommend getting LED lights at the beginning of your lease. LEDs have plummeted in price recently (three of them cost about $10), so you’ll definitely get your money’s worth by reducing electric bills. Also they should still be going strong at lease’s end!

6. Regularly replace furnace filters. If you change filters monthly as recommended you’ll reduce your heating bills, make the home more comfortable during the cold weather, and avoid add-on charges for replacement at move-out.

Pro tip: Write down sizes, or take pictures of your filters so you can easily reference them (sizes are included in the PCR). Also, you might want to consider buying in bulk through Amazon.

7. Keep your HVAC system clean and well-maintained. Check to see that all supply and return air vents are clean and unobstructed and make sure the condensation drain is not clogged or obstructed. If the property has a radiant heat system, make sure there are no leaking valves or radiators.

8. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Battery-operated models will begin making an intermittent chirping sound when the battery runs low, and you can easily replace the battery. Hard-wired models will do the same but have no bettery–so when one of these units goes bad you must submit a maintenance request to have it replaced. In either case, test the units periodically to make sure they are in working order.

When You Move Out:

By following the steps below, you’ll make our job easier, which makes everything go much more smoothly.

9. Schedule carpet cleaning. If you have a pet, be sure to order a tick and flea treatment. Our lease requires this at move-out, even if you have no carpets in your home. Be sure to use an approved vendor to clean your carpets. Should you use an outside vendor and their work is determined to be sub-standard, we will have to have your carpets cleaned again by one of our approved vendors, at your expense. Avoid paying for this service twice!

10. Clean! And clean thoroughly. thoroughly.​Remember that when you move out, the property should be left in the same condition as it was when you moved in. This is why it is imperative that you return your PCR right after you move in noting any discrepancies, otherwise you might be charged for pre­existing problems! Common cleaning items that are missed include:

  • Under the refrigerator
  • On top of the refrigerator
  • Inside the oven, oven drawer and underneath the oven
  • Under stove burners
  • Sides of toilets
  • Range hood and exhaust fan filters (Note that you can put them in the dishwasher to make things much easier!)
  • Crumbs in cabinets/drawers
  • Washer and dryer lint.

Pro Tip: Remember to clean the gutters one last time and have the fireplaces cleaned and inspected. Make sure to provide a copy of your receipt for each service.

11. If you hire a cleaning service, make sure you ask for “detail cleaning.” To make sure your money is well spent (and to get all of your security deposit back), be sure to use a recommended WJD vendor. Also, remember to ask for detail cleaning and not surface cleaning.

12. Double-check to make sure you’ve replaced all light-bulbs and furnace filters one last time. Even if you forget to replace just one light bulb that was working when you moved in, we will have to send a contractor to replace it. So, even though the actual light bulb may just cost a couple of dollars, your cost is going to be a minimum $75 trip charge plus the cost of the bulb. The same holds true for furnace filters.

13. Take out the trash. It’s such a simple step, and it would be silly to forget and cause a minimum service fee

14. Perform all necessary lawn care. This is going to differ for each tenant, so check your lease for specifics of what to include (i.e. mowing, pruning, weeding, raking, etc.) Again, if you want to hire someone to take care of this for you, please use one of our recommended vendors for best results.

Tips to Get Your Deposit Back

15. Make the final inspection an easy process by preparing beforehand. Once inspection begins, tenants are not allowed to clean, add finishing touches, etc. Leave all keys, fobs, placards, remotes, and receipts on your kitchen counter; and have the property ready for inspection when the inspectors arrive. It will make everything go much more smoothly.

16. Stagger the work being done, beginning two weeks out from your move-out date. This will keep you from becoming overwhelmed, and will allow you to do one last cleaning spree before inspection. By getting everything done beforehand, we can come and do our job and help you check out quickly and smoothly.

17. Schedule services before the day of check-out. If you’re hiring professional cleaners, don’t have them come the same day as your check-out inspection. Remember that carpets should be dried from carpet cleaning prior to inspection. Essentially, you want to ensure the home is in the exact same condition it was when you moved in. This is most easily accomplished by getting the big stuff out of the way in advance.

Pro Tip: To keep track of everything, we suggest you print off our Move-Out Checklist and post it on your refrigerator or counter. This checklist can also be found in your Tenant Handbook.

18. Ask questions. Ask questions. Ask questions. Communicate ahead of time if there are any issues you have questions about. For example, if you aren’t sure how to clean a fixture or appliance that you’re responsible for or if you are having difficulty accessing light fixtures in high-ceilinged homes, let us know! We can probably recommend just the right tool or cleaning tips.

Concluding:

Moving out is a time-consuming process, but there’s no need for it to be expensive as well. By following the above guidelines, you will dramatically reduce the possibility of having to lose some of your security deposit. And by making it easier for us to do our job, you’ll probably speed up the refund process. Thank you, and we hope you find these tips helpful.