Thanks to all for response - I do enjoy sharing and getting support from other landlords!
There is the prescreening card on this website, which is a most valuable tool. In the past I have used a letter like the card with additional questions. The last three times I looked for a tenant I wondered about the people who did not reply back. I believe there is a portion of people who qualify for the property but do not want to answer my letter as it could be a scam or and the many questions make people uncomfortable. This letter nails them down on all legitimate information.
So here is the new plan. 1)They answer the add. 2)I respond with a nice short note answering any questions from their first contact. Within that note the last line is let me know if your still interested 3) They write back and are interested 4) I then send them the first pre-qualify letter which is asking for a day and night phone number and their income.(this will weed out many. What I intend to accomplish is that I do not scare off the good ones) 5) I call the people who say they have the income that qualifies them and am very hospitable. (of course :) In this conversation it is all about them, their needs and any questions about my property. Also in this conversation I take note on what they say. ;) 6) At the end of this conversation I send my real pre-qualifying letter asking the very detailed information.
This process creates extra work for me but I believe I may save losing a qualified tenant who is put off by the machine I have created. The machine was created due to the overwhelming response. By only asking income I still weed out a lot but it will feel far less invasive by only asking the one question! By this time they will know I am real and the property is sweet and they want to see it.
I like to share this part as I feel this is an area I am good at. I am new to landlording but I am a pro when it comes to finding qualified people to by my product or service.
Been a LL for 20+ years and just wanted to share this tip that I was given when I first took on the challenge! When you show a unit make sure you pay close attention to your "Fish's vehicle". If it is dirty and full of garbage then that is a good sign of how they live.