Summer is always one of the busiest times in the rental market, making it tough to secure the ideal home.
It’s important to be prepared, especially in a market that’s more competitive than usual, which is the case this year, according to agents.
Here are some top tips from the experts on how to put your best foot forward, and make landing your desired pad a reality.
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It’s best to start looking as soon as possible during peak summer season, realestate.com.au executive manager of rent Kul Singh said.
“Don’t wait until the last minute to start the search,” Mr Singh said.
“If you see a place you like, get in early and book an inspection with the property manager.”
Exploring a wide range of suburbs and different types of properties can also help increase your choices and chances, he added.
“Look at neighbouring suburbs to the most popular areas, and remember that high-demand suburbs mean more competition,” Mr Singh said.
“Consider searching for a different type of dwelling to a house — units and apartments are more affordable, still in great locations, and often have communal facilities and outdoor spaces.”
Harcourts Victoria chief executive Tony Morrison said tenants should know exactly what they were looking for when researching, and even email local agents with specific requirements.
“You might even hear about a new listing before it hits the internet,” he said.
Make a strong first impression by being prepared for a property inspection. Hodges Sandringham property manager Katie Pickering said being over-prepared would never hurt a potential tenant.
“It’s good to have the application ready to go, with a cover letter explaining the situation,” Ms Pickering said, adding appearance and communication were important.
Being punctual shows commitment to being a responsible tenant.
While at the property, look out for signs it has been well maintained by the landlord.
“A key factor to look out for is whether the property has a good heating and cooling system,” Ms Pickering said.
It’s also the time to ask any nitty gritty questions to the property manager, like whether the home is in a particular school zone.
Mr Morrison said renters needed to be flexible when arranging inspection times.
“Attend the first open home, even if it’s during the week,” he said.
“Properties are usually leased out before the second inspection, so it’s worth skipping lunch or taking annual leave to avoid missing out.”
Hocking Stuart St Kilda’s rental department manager Rebecca Berry said registering contact details could help property managers assist with the search.
MAKING AN APPLICATION:
Found the one? Make sure an application is ready to go.
Mr Morrison said having an application and 100 points of ID ready was a must.
“The more information you voluntarily provide, the quicker and easier it is for a landlord to approve your application,” Mr Morrison said.
“This will ensure you don’t miss out to a person who has filled out their application quicker and correctly.”
Preparing referees in advance, and making sure they answer the call, would also help put an application at the top of the pile, he added.
A verified 1Form account would save renters time during the application process, Mr Singh said.
“It allows you to apply for multiple rental properties using one application form,” he said.
“This saves you time and hassle, meaning you can apply for a property straight away with one click from your phone.”
A verified account also gets pushed to the front of the queue, improving the chances of success.
Ms Berry said submitting an application within the first view hours of an inspection was ideal.
“Make sure you are contactable from the moment you submit an application,” Ms Berry said.
“With fast turnaround times, most agencies receive, process and approve an applicant within 24 hours.”
“Be open and transparent about any pets you have, and include a picture or pet profile for the landlord,” Mr Singh said.
“The more information you can provide the better, as this saves the property manager time when researching animal breeds.”
Want a specific contract length? Or looking for some long-term security?
“If you’re in a position to stay in the one place longer than a year, offer to sign a longer tenancy agreement to secure the property,” Mr Singh said.
Breaking into the rental market for the first time can be difficult. But just how important is rental history? Ms Pickering said while it could be helpful, it’s not necessary.
“We have a number of first-time renters looking to secure a rental property,” she said.
“We encourage them to provide as many documents as possible that would support their application.”
Pay slips, bank statements and proof of council rates payments could all help a first-time renter succeed.
Meet the property manager:
Arrange a time to meet with the property manager before moving in, Ms Berry said.
“At this meeting you can finalise your documentation, run through the property and agency information, ask any further questions and collect the keys to your new home,” she said.
— with Hannah Scholte
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