5 Tips for Applying for Your First Rental Property
In a competitive rental market, it can be difficult to secure a property, let alone your dream home. For first time renters, there’s an additional layer of complexity – you don’t have a rental record to demonstrate your trustworthiness, nor do you know the ins and outs of the leasing world.
If you’ve scoured the internet for tips and tricks for securing your first rental but are still feeling confused, we’ve compiled the top five tips for applying for (and hopefully securing) your first rental property.
1. First Impressions Count
It’s crucial that at least one housemate attends the property inspection before submitting an application. This is a great opportunity to not only get a feel for the property, but to gain the agent’s attention by dressing sharply, being polite and asking thoughtful questions. Once you have established a great rapport with the agent, it’s a great idea to fill out the application as quickly as possible and follow it up with a courtesy phone call.
What should you look for during a rental inspection? It’s easy for first time renters to get swept up in the excitement of their first rental home, but it’s important to keep an eye out for a few crucial details, including security, storage, car spaces and more.
2. Write a Cover Letter
If you want to stand out amongst the piles of applications the agent will receive, introduce yourself and your housemates via a cover letter. While you or another housemate may have met with the agent during an inspection, it’s the landlord that has the final say – so this is your opportunity to sell yourselves to them. Introduce everyone by discussing your careers and hobbies, and why you believe you’re the perfect tenants for the property. If the place you’re applying for is pet-friendly and you’re wanting to rent with a furry friend, you could even create a ‘pet resume’ with detailed information about your pet and references from your veterinarian.
3. Apply Online
It can feel like a hassle applying for a property online if you have to scan all of your hard-copy documents. However, the instant and paperless nature of an online application is highly convenient for your agent and at the end of the day, that’s who you’re trying to impress. Ensure you’ve filled out everything correctly and in detail, to avoid your agent having to come back to you with corrections.
Did you know your iPhone has a Scan Documents feature? Create a note, click the camera icon at the bottom of your screen and scan your documents directly to you phone.
4. Be Transparent and Honest
While you may think that tweaking the truth on your rental application may make you look better, an agent will do a thorough background check on your application – making you look untrustworthy if they catch you bending the truth. Be honest about your income, number of housemates and pets. It’s also important to have trustworthy references – as this will be your first rental property, you’ll need to use someone like your employer. Our friends at realestate.com.au have a few other suggestions for first time renters needing to demonstrate their capacity to pay your rent.
5. Prepare to Negotiate
If you’re looking to rent in an area where vacancy rates are tight, you may find yourself in a ‘bidding war’ with other candidates. Small bargaining tools like offering $5 to $10 over the weekly asking price, signing a longer lease or paying a few extra weeks rent in advance may offer you some leverage over other applicants. Before you enter into any negotiations with your potential property manager and landlord, it’s important to consider your own personal and financial circumstances to avoid landing yourself in hot water down the track.
Important disclaimer: This article is provided for general information only, and the author is not engaged to render professional advice or services through this article. Readers should satisfy themselves as to the correctness, relevance, and applicability of any of the above content, and should not act on any of it in respect of any specific problem or generally without first obtaining their own independent professional legal advice.