5 Steps to Great Waitlist Openings

Opening an affordable housing waitlist is time-consuming, expensive, and burdensome. Not only is it stressful for property managers, it also can be a difficult for applicants too. However, it doesn’t have to be that hard — you can make a few tweaks to make your life easier and also improve the process for applicants.

  1. Make it easy — Online forms make it easy for your applicants to find and submit an application online. Good waitlist management starts with the original application, since receiving online applications eliminates the data entry with creating a waitlist. No more Excel! No more data entry parties!
  2. Make it accessible — Screen readers are now used to help the blind to fill out applications online. Make sure your online application is compatible with screen readers, so your blind applicants can navigate your application with ease. You’ll also want to to allow your applicants to adjust the font size and screen contrast for both the application and their accompanying applicant portal, so your senior applicants can more easily view the application. By ensuring that these accommodations exist from the get-go, it means that you can save time (and money!) avoiding a scenario where you have to read the application to applicants that need an accommodation.
  3. Integrate paper and online applications — Depending on the population applying to your community, not all of your applicants will be able to use on online application. Applicants with major mental health issues who don’t have a case manager may not be able to manage an online application, so it’s important that you have a way to easily digitize and integrate your housing applications.
  4. Provide application fee options — If your property has an application fee, don’t just provide the applicant with a credit/debit card option — some affordable housing applicants are unbanked, and thus, need more options. Applicants need the opportunity to go to a neighborhood store to pay in cash and have that debited to their account online. And new technology companies such as PayNearMe actually makes that possible! That way, you’re getting your money instantaneously, and applicants don’t have to actually go to your property to drop their payment. It’s a win/win: you make the online application more accessible and also get your money faster!
  5. Allow applicants to update their information online — Prevent typos and deciphering messy handwriting by allowing your applicants to update their application information online. That translates to fewer phone calls from applicants wanting to update their information and less mail to deal with. That means more time to focus on your building and your existing tenants instead of constantly managing so many calls and mail.

By doing one or all of the above, you’ll be able to drastically simplify the process of opening your waitlist. If you have any questions or would like me to review your waitlist management process, let me know! I’d be happy to get in touch — just drop me a note here.