As many renters view the beginning of the new year as the ideal time to find a home, 2019 has started with a bang against a wave of rental demand pushing record property listings onto the rental market.
Rent.com.au Chief Executive Officer, Greg Bader said January was a busier month for rental properties than at any other time in the calendar year.
“For a lot of people, the start of a new year goes hand-in-hand with starting a new job, a new school or university, or simply looking for a change of lifestyle,” he said.
“It’s a period of picking up where you left off on big life decisions, and with high demand from tenants comes an influx of new rental listings and available properties for rent.”
Mr Bader said that rent.com.au customers created more than 1,000 Renter Resumes on Tuesday alone – an all-time high. “To put that into perspective, renters also made around 3,000 enquiries on properties and sent in hundreds of rental applications,” he said. “With many people still on holidays, this is a good indication that the next couple of weeks are going to be pretty crazy.”
Ensure your rental application stands out from the pack
“Healthy leasing activity means we’ll see an increase in rental demand, so renters need to move fast to secure the rental they want and do more to ensure their application stands out from the pack,” Mr Bader said.
“A lot of renters ask how they can make their applications stronger – because even when your application is good, it’s easy to miss out on your dream home or even an individual room if you’re not able to differentiate yourself.”
“Not only does our Renter Resume tool offer need-to-know information for your prospective landlord/property manager, but it also shows professionalism and responsibility by taking that extra step to go above and beyond with your application,” he said.
“The more landlords or property managers know about you (the rental applicant), the better informed they’ll be to select the right person for the lease.”
Top tips for searching in January
“The new year can be really competitive for renters, and with increasing demand from applicants to find affordable properties with a desirable address, there’s more choice out there, so be prepared to look around for a bargain,” Mr Bader said.
“Consider looking to neighbouring suburbs that are close to where you want to live. This doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice closeness to key amenities like public transport, shops and parks to stay within your budget. In fact, these suburbs typically offer similar transport and lifestyle options to their pricier neighbours and can offer a better ‘bang for buck’. Rent.com.au’s unique lifestyle search feature can help identify these gems.
“For renters, this can mean the difference between saving a few extra dollars a week to an extra room. While we’re yet to see any dramatic drop in rental prices like we’ve seen in the for-sale market, there’s more choice out there, so it’s worth investing the time to find the right place for your needs.”
Own an investment property? Make sure you’re marketing correctly
Mr Bader said landlords should lease their property competitively from the start, but make sure they do their homework. “Knowing your local rental market and how seasonality affects supply and demand is key,” he said.
“Take heed of advice from your property manager. Even a $10/week increase on your property above market price could see your property on market for weeks longer and end up costing thousands in lost rent.”
“Don’t forget to invest in high quality, professional photos and prominent advertising – if your property comes up on the top of the search and is well-presented, it’s far likelier to secure you a good tenant,” Mr Bader said.
”Every property is different, as is every suburb. You may be lucky and be in an area where demand is still outstripping supply, many are not – so it comes down to describing the property well. We offer some tools to make your job easier – Walk Score (a measure of how often you’re likely to need a car to complete daily tasks) and lifestyle data, gathered from real renters that shows where your suburb rates strongest (schools, cafes, etc). Savvy landlords and agents are using this information to help market their properties.
“If you have a property in the suburbs with a low Walk Score, renters will reasonably expect to be using their car a lot, so this is a great chance to mention your off-street parking. On the other hand, in a higher Walk Score area, renters will reasonably think they’ll be able to use public transport so mention that a train station or bus stops are right nearby.
“The key here is understanding your property’s pros and cons relative to the Walk Score and lifestyle data and including these in your property description and conversations with prospective tenants,” Mr Bader concluded.
Looking for a rental property? Go no further.