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Rental application tips: How to win that prized rental

By George Hadgelias

If you’ve been to an open for inspection for a rental property recently, you’ll know how competitive they can be.

Good properties in great locations can attract dozens of applicants who are all desperate to get their foot in the door, so standing out from the crowd is critical.

Agents say it’s not difficult to become the number one applicant.

Here are some key strategies to employ when you simply have to win that prized rental.

Think like a landlord

What would you want to see from a prospective tenant if you were renting out a property?

Mark Taylor, director of Taylors Property Management Specialists in Bondi Junction, says it’s the overarching question you should ask yourself before applying for, or inspecting, any rental property.

“In other words, if you’re a landlord, what would you want a potential tenant to be giving you,” Taylor says.

First impressions count

An open for inspection is effectively the largest group interview you’ve ever attended.

The agents are sizing you up and assessing you from the moment you walk in the door – after all, they’re the ones who’ll be presenting the options to the landlord and helping them to make their final decision.

So treat it exactly like you’re going for your dream job, Taylor says, including dressing presentably, introducing yourself to the agents and generally being courteous.

“Don’t be rude, don’t be obnoxious, don’t be arrogant. Help the agent help you,” he says.

Have your documents organised

Ensuring your documentation is A-grade – and even attaching a photo of yourself and your co-applicants – will go a long way to helping you win the day.

“Make sure you get your paperwork right, so we’re not constantly needing to ring you about filling something in or clarifying this or that,” Taylor says.

“We’ve got to pick one of 10 or 15 applications, and sometimes it gets up to 20 or 25, so if your paperwork is organised and ready, and you’ve got a photo that brings instant recognition and connection back to the inspection, straight away you’re ahead of the pack.”

Give yourself a point of difference

As a landlord, renting your house out essentially means inviting a stranger to live in their property.

But Taylor says prospective tenants can break down those barriers by including extra information on their application.

“It’s almost like doing a little presentation,” he says.

“Tell us a bit about yourself and your partner. They’re the questions our client needs to know and wants to know and will be asking us. Is it just yourself, are you and your partner working in town or here or there, or at the hospital up the road? Whatever the situation is, it helps to sell yourself to us and therefore our client. It’s all about the sale.”

Make your references clinch the deal

Taylor says going the extra mile and providing references that go beyond just listing your former landlords could swing things in your favour.

“Certainly we’ll confirm employment. But character or personal references help as well,” he says.

“People think they’re a bit understated, but we’re big on that, to know that yes you might be able to pay the rent, but if you’re a troublemaker we don’t want to know you, and we can get that indication from a character reference.”

Cash should be a last resort

The practice of tenants offering extra payments to secure a rental has been widely reported, but Taylor says a better overall tenant will always win out.

“You could offer $100 more, but be the worst applicant, so we’ll steer well clear.”

“You might only be there a couple of months and you’ve cost the landlord more than the extra dollars you’re putting on the table. We’re more swayed by the package, for want of a better word – the person.”

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