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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 property can sometimes feel like fighting for 7th and 8th spot on the AFL ladder. 

But if Richmond can make the greatest 12-month turnaround in AFL history, surely we can land our dream rental?

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

Prepare as though it’s pre-season

The number one insider tip to securing a rental is to be prepared. Just as any AFL player will prepare their body before they run out for Round 1, it’s important tenants are ready to apply for a home before they find the one.

Pearson says this used to be about carefully filling out application paperwork, but nowadays this process has been streamlined for tenants and property managers with 1form. This online application system used by prospective tenants to apply for rental properties listed on websites like realestate.com.au. Use it wisely, Pearson says.

“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,” she says.

Enhancements to 1form now capture essential information about tenants. These changes, which include a new tenant bio section and the question ‘tell us why you’re suited to the property’, allow you to provide a more in-depth account of yourself and the property for which you’re applying. There is also a new section that asks tenants to provide details of pets, should they have them.

If you have all of this prepared, you’ll be able to hit the ground running when applications open.

Double check that the application is complete before sending it off, as an incomplete application is the equivalent of running onto the ground without warming up first – you’ll be setting yourself up for failure.

“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.

Book an inspection

Inspecting a property in person is as important as an away team training on their competitor’s home ground first. 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”.

“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.

Be a good team player

First impressions are crucial, so when you’re inspecting a property, be kind and courteous to others looking at the home. Remember, captains will always politely shake hands before a game… may the best tenant win.

Be sure to also greet the leasing agent or the property manager, treating the occasion more like a job interview than a training session.

“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.

Don’t assume money talks

If teams are looking to make a trade, it’s important the the deal is fair for both sides. Offering cash above and beyond what’s been advertised for a rental isn’t necessarily a good idea, and may be seen as a red flag by property managers, Pearson says.

“Some applicants are willing to offer some additional rent. While we don’t encourage that, we’ve had that happen, which is an indication in the change of the market,” 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?”

If you have a pet and are looking for your new rental property, make sure you’re upfront and honest about your pet on your rental application. Creating a 1form application means you only need to fill out the application form once and can use it apply for multiple properties. This saves you time and allows you to apply for a rental property immediately after the inspection, using your phone. You can now also include a pet bio and image on your 1form application, which helps show your pet in the best possible light. Create a 1form application with your pet at www.1form.com.

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