Avail’s tenant screening services (owned by Realtor.com) come with an excellent application process and beautiful reports. The main downside is that their high pricing will turn away some applicants—especially when many other landlords use cheaper services.
Sample Reports: Tenant Screening Report ($55)
What is Avail?
Avail is a service for property managers that provides credit and background checks on rental applicants. While Avail provides many resources for landlords, this review will focus on their tenant screening services.
Avail Features and Facts
|Time to Get Results
|Immediately after authorization is given
|Type of Application
|Online through their portal
|Nationwide Criminal & Eviction Check
|Felonies & Misdemeanors
|SSN Fraud Check
|Sex Offender Check
Avail Pros & Cons
- Thorough and Beautiful Reports – Avail has perhaps the best-looking reports of any tenant screening service.
- Applicants Get Copies of Reports – Applicants not only get copies of their reports, but they can review them before submitting to the landlord.
- Quick Yet Complete Application – Once their application starts, they ask no unnecessary questions and applicants can move through it quickly.
- Customizable Application – Landlords can choose what information they’d like to collect.
- Expensive – At $55 per applicant, Avail’s pricing is one of the highest in the industry.
- Long Intro to Application – With several screens and then an account creation process, some applicants may leave before they get started.
Avail Tenant Screening Pricing
Avail offers a single tenant screening package for $55. Their service provides:
- Credit Report (including TransUnion’s ResidentScore)
- Nationwide Criminal Report
- Nationwide Eviction Report
- SSN Verification
- Sex Offender Report
- OFAC Report
- Address History
- Employment History
- Collections & Public History Reports
Here’s how Avail’s process looks to both landlords and applicants, as well as screenshots of their reports.
1. Create Application
After creating a landlord account and adding your property, you’ll be able to send an invite to apply. In addition, Avail allows you the option to select what information you’d like to collect. For this walkthrough, we will leave the default options in place.
Here’s the screen for sending invites to applicants, which includes options to either email or text the link:
Here, we’ll see the price and that it’s going to be paid by the applicants:
Landlords are then given more options for customizing the application:
2. Tenant Application Process
Here’s the email invite to apply. While the process does take longer than their advertised 5 minutes, it’s still pretty quick and will keep applicants moving.
However, the only downside to their application process is the several screens renters must get through before even inputting information:
Then, they need to create an account. Some tenant screening services do this, while others do not.
Then, the applicant will enter some basic personal information:
The application process does a great job of being concise, yet still getting the information landlords want. They have a number of free-form boxes (like in this example below) where applicants can talk about themselves or explain negative marks on their application.
While Avail doesn’t have a report where they verify income information, they do have a place for applicants to load financial documents. You should always verify employment and pay with their employer, but this is a good starting point in judging their ability to cover rent.
Here’s another example of giving the applicants a chance to explain negative marks. If the applicant was evicted 5 years ago in extenuating circumstances and they can adequately explain what happened, you can have another applicant remain in consideration.
Then they’ll pay the $55:
Now TransUnion will verify the applicant’s identity (which is interesting to do after paying the fee).
Then the applicant can see their own reports:
They then see this screen, giving them a chance to review what the landlord will see before sending it.
Then, the application gathers their consent:
3. Landlord Reports View
In line with everything else Avail does, the interface to view reports is clean and easy to follow:
Here’s a look at the information submitted via application:
4. Credit Report
First, we’ll notice the custom interface on the credit report. It’s a tad busy, but overall it looks nice and gives great information. We also get a quick assessment of each point as well, which is helpful for newer landlords to see how their applicant stacks up.
Next, we’ll get a longer list that’s a bit harder to get through concerning debt summaries. The most important thing here is to check on their monthly debt payments. You can use this to calculate debt-to-income ratio, a far superior indicator than rent-to-income.
You’ll then be able to drill down to each of their debt accounts, see the status of their payments, and how much they owe.
Next, you’ll see a helpful summary of any derogatory items on their credit report:
Now, you’ll get access to their address and employer history, which is helpful to verify against the information the applicant gave.
Finally, their credit report shows any indication of fraud, collections, or public records about debt-related legal matters:
5. Criminal & Eviction Reports
We’ll see here that their criminal report actually gives us sex offender records, OFAC records, Most Wanted records, and state-specific criminal records. This mention of “state specific” was confusing, but their customer support confirmed that the state specific criminal report is in addition to nationwide criminal reports. Not sure why they made a distinction.
Lastly, we’ll get the simple eviction report:
Should You Use Avail?
Avail is a top-of-the-line tenant screening service that has almost no downside. The process for both landlords and applicants is great, the reporting gives you everything you need to know, and landlords can even customize their reports.
However, the $55 price tag will turn away some applicants. There are similar services for about $20 cheaper that provide the same reports. The extra cost may be worth it to some landlords who value the exceptional user experience, but many would do better to look elsewhere.
Avail Frequently Asked Questions
These are the most common questions asked about Avail:
1. Is Avail a Legitimate Site?
Avail is a legitimate website and one of the more popular tenant screening services in the industry.
2. Does Avail Run a Hard Credit Inquiry?
Credit checks from Avail are done via soft inquiry and will not affect the applicant’s credit score.
3. Are Avail’s Tenant Screening Reports Accurate
Powered by TransUnion, Avail’s reports are thorough and accurate.