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5 tips to help secure your dream rental

By George Hadgelias

The rental market can be an incredibly competitive space; here’s how to make sure you stand out from the crowd at your next open house. 

Living with your mates in a rental property can mean a ton of good times, and the first step – finding a place – is easy. It can be done online, on your phone, or while waiting for the barista to complete your coffee order.

But the second step, securing your new lease, is where things can get complicated – with packed open for inspections and even bidding wars to contend with. Get the situation under control with these handy tips.

1. Prepare your paperwork

Getting yourself organised is one thing, but the challenge is getting your flatmates to provide you with their paperwork. Rental properties can move at blistering speeds, so it pays to have everything prepared in advance.

The list of essential documentation includes identification, pay slips, and if at all possible, as many glowing references as you can muster.

2. Respect the reference

A positive reference from your previous landlord will go a long way to gaining your new landlord’s favour. One way to ask for a reference is to write it up yourself, send it in an editable format, and ask, “Would you mind reading this, making any changes you’d like, and signing it for me?”.

If it’s your first time renting, don’t despair – get creative and ask for a reference from your employer instead, or consider asking a family member to be your guarantor, who will be responsible for paying the rent if you default.

3. First impressions count

Either you, or one of your housemates, should attend the property inspection. When you do, be on time, and on point – dress sharp and make a good impression – it’s just another way to help the agent choose you over your rental rivals.

It’s all about getting the agent’s attention, in a good way, without being pushy. So turn on the charm, and who knows – you might even get away with asking for a little discount on the rent.

4. Make an offer

Rental discounts are realistic when you’re the only one applying, but not so much when competition is fierce.

While nobody wants to be on the frontline of a bidding war for their next rental, the fact is, if you’re staring down stiff competition, and are hoping to tip the scales in your favour, making an offer is a valid strategy.

An extra $5 or $10 a week over the asking price, paying some rent in advance, setting up a direct debit and/or signing a longer lease if you’re comfortable with that, can potentially all help get the deal over the line.

5. Follow up with a phone call

While it feels like nobody calls anyone anymore, following up on your rental application is one exception to the rule. Much like after a first date, when to call the agent is debatable, but we recommend no more than 48 hours.

Same as at the inspection, let the agent know you’re keen (without seeming desperate) – just be helpful – you’re calling to confirm they received your application, and to see if they would like any more information.

All this brings us to the third step, making the most of your new digs – get ready for fun with friends and enjoying having your own place.

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