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4 tips for scoring the rental property of your dreams

By George Hadgelias

With an ever-increasing number of Australians renting their homes, applying for a rental can sometimes be a nightmare. 

But with a little planning and preparation, you can put your best rental foot forward and get yourself into a great rental home that’s perfect for your needs.

Joanne Pearson, a client consultant from McGrath St Kilda, explains how prospective tenants can climb the rental ladder.

1. Preparation is key

Prospective tenants need to be ready to apply for a home before they find the one, so the number one insider tip to securing a rental is to be prepared. You don’t even need to have found a house yet.

Head to 1form and fill out your profile before you’ve even found the property you want. This way, everything is ready to go when you do find your dream rental and you can apply as soon as you’ve attended an inspection.

“Go to 1form and get everything ready to go. Have all the information required – that’s the correct property information and agent information – payslips, a bio and a snapshot of yourself,” Pearson says.

Are you applying with a pet? There is also a new section that asks tenants to provide details of pets, that way you’ll put your best paw forward when it comes to your application.

2. Book an inspection

Inspecting a property in person is important. This is partly because images don’t tell the full picture, and partly because the application process is more complicated than “first past the post”.

Furthermore, it’s likely that a property manager will be unable to accept an application without the applicant having first viewed the property.

“You may think handing in your application early means you’ll land the rental, but no one can move in until they’ve seen the property,” says Pearson. So, get booking and know what you’re in for.

3. Double-check your application

If your application is incomplete before sending it off you’ll be setting yourself up for failure, says Pearson.

“If, as the agent, you’ve got to keep chasing for information, it’s too hard. We look at the applications and pick the best ones, and this means they are completed and done properly,” says Pearson.

In short, property managers are mostly looking to draft people who will pay rent on time, people who will not damage the property and are easy to deal with – like a good teammate.

3. Make a good impression

First impressions are crucial, so when you’re inspecting a property, be kind and courteous to others looking at the home.

Be sure to also greet the leasing agent or the property manager and treat the occasion like a job interview.

“If a prospective tenant is demanding and rude on a first impression, the property manager will become concerned with how they will be as a tenant going forward,” Pearson says.

4. Don’t assume money talks

Offering cash or gifts above and beyond what’s been advertised for a rental isn’t a good idea, and may be seen as a red flag by property managers, Pearson says. Rental bidding is also against the law.

“Some applicants are willing to offer some additional rent. While we don’t encourage that, we’ve had that happen” she says.

Others offer to pay two to six months’ rent in advance. “I generally say don’t do that,” warns Pearson. “There’s often a reason why they offer that extra money. Maybe they’ve been turned down elsewhere? Or they aren’t an ideal tenant?”

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