Zumper’s tenant screening service is thorough, effective, and provides the most important reports in a user friendly way. However, the extensive start-up process will turn off plenty of landlords.
Sample Reports: Tenant Screening ($30)
What is Zumper?
Zumper is primarily known as one of the web’s largest sites for connecting renters with landlords. This review will mostly cover their tenant screening service, but it’s impossible to fully remove the benefits their other services provide as a larger whole.
Zumper Features and Facts
|Time to Get Results
|Type of Application
|Through invitation or online link
|Nationwide Criminal & Eviction Check
|Felonies & Misdemeanors
|SSN Fraud Check
|Sex Offender Check
Zumper Pros & Cons
- Inexpensive for Applicants – Landlords can draw more applicants with a $30 screening fee.
- Immediate Reports for Applicants – Few tenant screening services provide a complete copy of reports for applicants.
- Integrated with Rental Listing Service – Many landlords will love that the tenant screening is part of their larger service to find, qualify, and manage renters.
- Lengthy Landlord Signup Process – The process to create an account is more involved than almost every other tenant screening service.
- Little Tenant Screening Information – Because it’s part of a larger service, it’s difficult to find details about their tenant screening on their site.
- Applicants Must Put in Bank and Loan Information – Zumper doesn’t provide a financial report, so it’s unclear why this information is required on the application.
- Verbiage Around Applicants “Creating” Reports – This sort of wording was confusing and could put off applicants, especially first-time renters who don’t fully understand the process.
Zumper Tenant Screening Pricing
Zumper offers only a single tenant screening package for $30. This service provides:
- Credit Report (including TransUnion’s Resident Score)
- Nationwide Criminal Report
- Nationwide Eviction Report
- SSN Verification
- Address History
- Employment History
- Sex Offender & Terrorist Checks
Here’s how Zumper’s process works for creating the application, going through the application, and getting reports.
1. Create Application
To find information on Zumper’s site about tenant screening, you have to scroll down to the footer:
From there, we get off to a slow start once on their tenant screening page. The “Start Screening” button didn’t actually work.
The workaround we used was to click on the “Sign-Up” link in the menu on the top-right. Then we scrolled down again to find the Tenant Screening link in the footer. Clicking that button took us here to fill out our profile:
Then we continue by adding our phone number:
Then, it’s time to verify our email:
Now, we get to select that we’re going to send screening documents (basically their verbiage that you’ll invite someone to apply):
Now, we’re told that more verification is needed. This is essentially the third separate time we’re taken to either create an account, upgrade an account, or verify an account. It’s getting tedious.
Here’s the first screen for verification:
The verification process continues with information about your ID:
Here, we selected Driver License:
Now, we’ll continue with our phones. We choose “Send SMS.”
Now we put our phone number in (again) to continue the process:
Next, you get a link in your phone. You click on the link, and then you can take a picture, front and back, of your driver’s license. Then, you must take a selfie that the software uses to verify you’re the same person. It’s a cool piece of technology, but we’re so deep into this signup process that it’s a little frustrating. Most tenant screening services have a 60-second process, but Zumper is closer to 7-10 minutes.
Now, we’re back to this screen we’ve seen before:
Then, accept the Terms and Conditions:
Now, we type in our password again. Not an annoying step by itself, but all the verifying grows tiresome.
Next, Zumper will ask for your information, a standard step in order to allow you to access screening documents.
Finally, we can add our rental property:
We can choose now that we’d like to send an email invite to apply:
Generally, landlords should check both of these boxes to get the standard screening reports, as well as get a full rental application from them:
This is the first time we see how much the tenant screening is going to cost. They advertise repeatedly that the reports are “free.” However, we’re now seeing that it’s free for landlords, but applicants pay $30. It’s a good price, but the verbiage leaves a little to be desired.
Now, we’re always fans of allowing either the email option, or the ability to grab a link to put on an online listing:
We choose to send out the invite via email:
2. Tenant Application Process
Now, we’ll move to the application process for the potential tenant. You’ll find that it’s a smooth, smart process that collects all the relevant information you want as a landlord. Here’s what the email invite looks like:
They are then taken to this screen to start the application:
Next, they create an account:
As mentioned before, the verbiage here that applicants are told to “create your credit report/background screen” is strange.
The applicant now accepts Terms and Conditions:
Next, they re-enter their password:
Then, they go through a standard identity verification:
Then, they are asked to pay, which gives the feeling the application process is finished. It’s just getting started, actually:
Applicants then start the process with their personal information:
The percentage completed actually makes the process feel longer, rather than it’s intended purpose. Continuing on, applicants are asked for rental/ownership history:
Then, they submit their employment history. Just like the rental history portion, the application asks for contact information, making it easy for landlords to reach out to verify this information. Asking for this information directly on the application is rarer than it should be.
Now, they’ll enter personal references and emergency contacts:
The percentage bar jumps all the way up to 73% here. It’s not a big deal, but the early steps didn’t jump up like that, which made the process feel like it would be longer than it actually is.
However, this page is incredible, and one of the most useful on any application we’ve seen to date. Giving the applicant a chance to proactively point out any negative marks, and then to be able to address it head-on, can help you not throw out applicants too soon.
For example, if you only saw an eviction, you might turn down an applicant out of hand. However, if they can address it here in a satisfactory way, you might be able to keep a good applicant in the mix.
The next step asks for the applicant to connect a bank account. However, the final reports don’t show any financial verification or reporting, so there doesn’t seem to be a reason to have this step here.
Now comes perhaps the most tedious step for applicants. They are asked to input information about their loans, even though this data will be given in a credit report later. Most applicants won’t have this information at the ready, making it inconvenient to fill out.
Then one final check, and they submit their documents:
The application gathers a ton of useful information from the applicants. We love that follow-up with applicants will be minimal because all important information has already been gathered.
However, the unneeded steps made a long application feel even lengthier to get through.
3. Landlord Reports View
Now, you’ll get an email that an applicant has submitted documents:
You’re taken to this page. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing page, but the blue buttons do stand out. Click on those.
4. Credit Report
The report starts with an SSN validation, as well as address and employment history:
Next is the standard summary of tradelines (who the applicant owes money to). With this summary, you can calculate debt-to-income ratio and have a great idea of the financial fitness of your applicant:
Now, rather than a credit score, landlords will get TransUnion’s Resident Score. It’s their metric that measures how qualified the applicant is as a renter. It’s essentially a credit score, but taking into account only factors that matter for renting a property. It runs on the same scale as a credit score.
Now, we’ll dig deeper into the tradelines, starting with another summary:
Then, you’ll see each open tradeline, such as this one for a mortgage. This applicant has paid every month on time, and you can see how much their monthly payment is.
5. Criminal & Eviction Reports
Zumper’s criminal report also checks for the applicants status concerning Most Wanted List, National Sex Offender, and Potential OFAC Match.
Then, we see a simple eviction report:
Should You Use Zumper?
Zumper provides the most essential reports at a price that won’t deter applicants. They’ve put plenty of resources into their landlord dashboard and application interface, and it makes a difference. The major downsides with using their service are the extensive landlord verification process, and the occasional less-than-intuitive steps in the application process.
However, Zumper still rates as one of the better options on the market for their thorough application, good reporting, and their integration with their own rental listing service.
Zumper Frequently Asked Questions
These are the most common questions asked about Zumper:
1. Is Zumper a Legitimate Site?
Zumper is a legitimate website. Their core service of listing rentals is one of the largest such businesses in the world.
2. Does Zumper Run a Hard Credit Inquiry?
Credit checks from Zumper are done via soft inquiry and will not affect the applicant’s credit score.
3. Are Zumper’s Tenant Screening Reports Accurate?
Powered by TransUnion, Zumper’s reports are thorough and accurate.