• Patrick Rankin

Why Conversations Are Better Then Applications



This post is about finding great tenants in the small moments during open homes and rental viewings. The more I think about how I have been successful in property management, the more I see that doing the small things well is what slowly but surely leads to a win.


This post is about the small conversations held in the between-moments. It’s about the door being opened for you with a smile and nod. It’s about the engagement you get while sharing your story, which encourages the same level of engagement when it is your turn to listen. These conversations are voluntary, honest moments between humans and provide way more information then application forms.


A conversation involves two or more people to be engaged, to both listen and talk. Because, if you are not listening to what the other person is saying, you will not know what to say when it is your turn to talk. During these moments, information is not only transferred, but in good conversations, where there is a high level of participation on each side, information can be transformed.


Application forms are apart of the clunky old machine called “The School System”. It’s where students are taught to sit and listen. Students are almost never asked to participate, and if they do, it’s at the cost of ether their social status, or academic standing. The application form is like a school test. It is done so that the applicant can get graded with a pass or fail. Applications often come with feelings of anxiety, mistrust, and not being good enough.


People don’t like application forms, but they love to talk about themselves.


People hate education, but they love learning.


People hate tests, but they love open conversations on difficult and interesting topics.


I invest the effort and time to create these small moments of conversation with people during open homes and viewings. I love the insight I get into their personalities, and tuning into their vibes. It’s wonderful to meet people this way. These moments are truth, because vibes don’t lie.


But applications are often incomplete, missing information and can be manipulated if the applicant is trying to provide the answer they think is correct, rather then just sharing the simple truth. Application forms come with ID Photos of the human it belongs to... WTF, are we machines??


This is why conversations are better then applications. Machines can hand out applications and process them to provide a measurable answer, and people love to get a measured answer, like a graded credit check, and a clean background check. But machines can not create the moments where people feel safe to be themselves and lean into conversations. That’s where the human comes in. That’s where a professional property manager can help landlords and tenants find each other in the best way.


Application forms are essential, and every landlord must thoroughly reference check and credit check their applicants. But this stage comes after conversations. Applications are a formality, after the main event. I hope this post helps and inspires you to lean into your conversations with others.

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