Soft credit pulls can help property managers and landlords attract and engage the best renters, according to some new research from Equifax.
Unlike hard credit pulls, soft credit pulls do not impact a consumer’s credit score. This leaves renters in more competitive rental markets more likely to apply to multiple properties without worrying about harming their credit.
As a result, property managers and owners are more likely to attract better applicants and engage the renters who are most likely to pay rent on time – who may be the same renters concerned with having multiple hard credit pulls impacting their credit score.
Soft credit pulls help property managers and tenants
“In the environment today individuals looking to obtain a place to live are going to potentially have to go through the screening process a number of times,” Tyler Sawyer, Vice President of Rental and Real Estate, Equifax, said in an interview with Rental Housing Journal.
“What you’re going to see is often that, that individual might go to one, two, three, four, or five different properties that they might want to take a look at. Each of them maybe managed by a different tenant screening software, or different property managers or different landlords.”
“Often, in the world of credit, when you’re getting multiple inquiries what they’ll see is a negative hit associated to it. Not to a very large degree. But when you’re really dealing with somebody who might be on that bubble that can be very meaningful to them.
So we’ve been able to work with our teams to be able to provide the soft hit. This really gives the same information and the same score associated to an individual,” Sawyer said.
So property managers and landlords can get the information they need to get a good understanding on the prospective tenant’s background and be able to make a decision.
“But they are not going to have that credit hit the way that it works in a lot of the ecosystem here today,” Sawyer said.
Equifax works with tenant screening partners
“Our primary market strategy is really centered on working with the tenant screening organizations,” Sawyer said. “What that means is we’re supplying key pieces of information, like credit scores, like verification of income and employment. Then, we’re supplying that data to the tenant screening companies where they’re really going to be able to take that and make decisions based off of the information that we’re providing to them.
“So, we really see those partnerships as a really key piece for us to be able to work on through, because we don’t have a very strong direct to landlord and property management company model in place. We really believe that being able to partner with those that already have those existing relationships from out there gives us the best visibility on out to the marketplace. Gives us the best ability to be able to push new product on out to the market successfully and impact consumers.
“At the end of the day it’s all these tenant screening organizations that have a lot of those very strong relationships. They are a very well known, strong organizations working with a number of property management companies and landlords to be able to affect change. And if we’re able to work through them successfully with something like the soft credit roll out, then we’re just going to have a much stronger base by which to work with.
Property managers see same information on soft credit pulls they do on a hard credit pulls
“We’ve been asked a lot about that, with landlords are reaching out and saying, ‘Hey, am I going to have a different experience? Am I going to have to do a lot of work associated with being able to pull a soft pull versus the hard pull?’ “Sawyer said.
“Their experience remains the same. The information that they typically are going to be looking at, they’re still going to be able to view. And we even able to, kind of operationally in the background, make it a very smooth transition so that they don’t have to run through hurdles to really be able to start taking advantage of this new product.
“Our rollout strategy is centered on making this available to every single one of our customers. We have done a full migration to immediately impact all of those who were pulling credit hits within the rental ecosystem as they relate to Equifax. And so, we’ve been able to impact every single one of them. Just a couple of weeks ago during our official rollout,” Sawyer said.
Tenants can go apartment shopping without credit score impact
“They can go shopping now and not be worried about that hit and that’s really important. They don’t have to be threatened by a credit hit. And let’s face it, in a lot of scenarios consumers aren’t necessarily fully aware that they might have a credit hit associated to it, they just see it as the score going down a little bit if they’re really paying attention.
“This is something that is going to help them in the background. And it’s also helping property managers and landlords to provide solutions that do not negatively impact their potential relationship. The landlord/tenant relationship is a very important one. You’re having someone move into your home and you want to really be able to get up off on the right foot. And that’s how we’re able to positively impact the fully ecosystem, both from the consumer and from the landlord side because they’re going to have the opportunity to engage in a very positive way with the tenant right out of the gate,” Sawyer said.
Equifax is a global information solutions company that uses trusted unique data, innovative analytics, technology and industry expertise to power organizations and individuals around the world by transforming knowledge into insights that help make more informed business and personal decisions.Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Equifax operates or has investments in 24 countries in North America, Central and South America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region