Saturday, August 21, 2010

Three Steps – Explaining the Tax Credit Application Process

Communities that fall under LIHTC may have a rental consultant that struggles to explain the application process to a prospect. First advise the prospect that your community has income guidelines, based on the number of individuals in the household, that must be followed for initial residency. Ask how many persons are in the household and tell them the maximum allowable yearly income, then ask if a) they feel they would qualify, or b) they are over or under this income limit – whichever method of questioning the rental consultant is most comfortable with.
After the prospect has completed the application, let them know there will not be an immediate response on acceptance. Income verification is needed to prove the information provided on the application is accurate, and that there are no hidden bank accounts, home ownerships, or other assets of this type.
Explanation to the prospective resident of the three-step application approval process is critical. First, credit and criminal reports are run to be certain that the prospect meets the resident selection criteria as defined for that particular apartment community. Secondly, if step one passes, the income verification process will begin. Let the prospect know that we are at the mercy of their employer, bank, and anyone else they listed, to prove the information collected when the application was filled out is true and accurate. In some cases, the need for the prospect’s assistance in obtaining the required documentation may be necessary. The third and final step is the approval process. At Yarco Companies a “second pair of eyes” is enlisted to review the file and guarantee that all items have been properly verified and nothing has been missed. When the applicant’s file has been successfully approved, the prospect can move in. This entire process could easily take more than a week to be completed, depending on the speed with which all verifications and approvals can be completed.
Explanation of this process from the first initial contact with a prospective resident may stop some of the phone calls asking if the application has been approved. When a phone inquiry is made asking about approval, let the prospect know which step of the process their application is in. With the information that has been given the applicant regarding the three steps necessary for approval, they should know what stage the verification is in and how much longer they may have to wait for a final decision and move-in date, hopefully reducing daily phone calls from the anxious applicant.

What ways have you found to help you explain the process to prospects?

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