17 Feb 6 Best Ways to Get the Rental Property You Want!
The rental market in Australia at the moment is brutal and is especially hard on first time renters. If you show up to a rental inspection with twenty other people, you can’t afford to be blasé about your application. If an agent is choosing between you and another applicant, and the other applicant has their bond, first month’s rent and a list of perfect references, you’ll need to match that and do better.
1. Ensure you have all the correct documentation
- The real estate agent should provide you with a list of documents that you need to submit with your application but it can’t hurt to be prepared. In most instances you’ll need:
- the completed application form
- Cover letter
- Photo ID
- Financial evidence such as payslips/proof of employment
- Previous rental ledgers
- pet references if applicable.
Make sure you have all of these documents copied and ready to submit to the agent because they aren’t going wait around while you run to Officeworks to make a photocopy of your passport. Have everything copied, certified if necessary and organised into a folder that you can hand to the real estate agent on the day.
2. Apply online and save time
We barely use the post anymore, so why should rental applications be any different? Forget printing, scanning, photocopying, stamping and walking to the postbox – a lot of agents websites and the bigger aggregators like RealEstate.com.au and Domain.com.au have online applications that will allow you to fill in a single form that gets automatically emailed to the property manager.
You can then apply for as many properties as you like and attach all your documentation that you’ve scanned or taken photos of. This saves time because usually these systems, especially the uniform ones offered through RealEstate.com.au and Domain save your details for the next application.
3. Get your housemates Moving
Your housemates don’t have to attend the property inspection (although it makes sense that they should) but you need to get their full and completed application and references. If you have a complete set of documentation for all members of the household you’ve got a better chance of being on the top of the pile. Don’t expect agents to waste their time chasing people for important information, so make sure you and your housemates are all on the same page.
4. A killer cover letter
This can be the defining way in setting your applications apart from others as it gives you an opportunity to sell yourself and tell a story. If the application process is a hard-copy submission ensure you include a good cover letter, if it’s an online process make sure you attach it and if the online process doesn’t allow for the attachment of a cover letter then email it to the agent separately, which also acts as a followup.
As a guide, my cover letters have always followed the following format and have never failed to secure a property:
- Introduction: thanks for allowing us to inspect, please find attached my application, in addition we wanted to provide some further info
- About me: my current work and projects, any extra-curricular info that shows I’m a dedicated/hard-working person.
- About me 2: things I enjoy doing in my spare time, a bit about my values and why the property interests me/why I want to live there
- Rental history: including current costs paid and also info pertaining to financial independence. If you have insurance such as Income Protection this is a good time to make mention of it!
- Closing: anything else you want to end on, I usually make an offer of 2 months’ rent up front if you can afford it, it shows you’re keen.
If you want a copy of a recent cover letter please email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you a template you can work off.
5. Be Courteous, respectable and presentable
Agents are usually very busy on the day of the inspection, often holding multiple inspections on one day. It’s just general courtesy but the following can go a long way:
- If you’re ready and waiting when they arrive they might remember when the time comes to choose a tenant.
- You don’t have to wear a suit but it is important to be presentable as it shows you’re keen to secure the property, that you’re taking the application process seriously and generally that if you can take care of yourself, you can take care of the rental space.
- Being pleasant rather than being pushy can put you in the good books of an agent
- Leaving a business card and spending a small amount of time talking to the agent and outlining your plans for rental of the property can be good too.
6. Follow up
If you’ve submitted an application and you haven’t heard anything 48 hours later, send a follow up to the agent. Let them know you’re very interested in the property and that you’re happy to provide any additional information or references they might need. They may well be trying to decide between your application and another candidate and if they receive a pleasant message from you, it might just put you at the top of their list.