You’re entering the rental market for the first time and you’ve spent the last few weeks searching rent.com.au for your next home. You finally found the one that’s just right for you, but chances are, there’ll be 10 other people also waiting to the apartment. So what can you do to make yourself stand out as the perfect tenant?
Remember this: Your landlord / property manager only cares about 3 key things: That you pay your rent on time, that you don’t damage the apartment and that you don’t cause any problems with your fellow tenants. Here are six easy strategies to help you make your case.
- View rentals you know you can afford
Landlords and property managers are tasked with finding the ideal tenant to suit the property – and a tenant who can pay the rent on time weekly, fortnightly or monthly will stand out in their books. Win over your prospective landlord / property manager by thinking about how much you can afford on your income and look at rentals that sit at or under this amount.
- Be aware of your credit history
Every prospective landlord or property manager will want to know that your income is steady and that you have a good history of making payments on time. If you know you have a few blemishes in your credit history, bring up any potential issues and have an explanation ready as to why and how those circumstances have changed. Rent.com.au offers RentCheck. If you think there may be issues on your national tenancy file, use RentCheck to prepare yourself ahead of filing your rental applications. RentCheck will identify any issues with identify verification, court records, missed rent payments and bankruptcy.
- Come financially prepared
In Australia, some landlords and property managers charge an Option Fee, even before your application is approved. Make sure you have enough money saved up to cover these initial expenses. The option fee and security bond are the most common pre-approval charges. Other regular fees can include a pet bond and rent in advance. Option fees are generally refundable in the event your application is unsuccessful. As a rule of thumb, have at least two months’ worth of rent sitting in your bank account.
- Dress the part
Now you’ve confirmed a time to view the rental property. This is your opportunity to meet the landlord or property manager handling the rental and a chance for them to answer any questions about the property. First impressions count, so make sure to dress nicely. Consider putting together an outfit you would wear to meet your partner’s parents for the first time. For guys, business casual wouldn’t be overkill; a clean button-down shirt with nice pants would make an excellent first impression. Ladies, wear a nice skirt and blouse or a dress, or nice pants with a shirt. The message you want to send here is, “I can take good care of myself, and I’ll take good care of your property.”
- Arrive on time
Rental viewings don’t last long – typically you’ll have less than 15 minutes to view the property and make some decisions. If your landlord or property manager has stipulated a viewing time between 3pm – 3.10pm, make sure you arrive a few minutes early, just as you would with a job interview. Arriving on time is common courtesy, but it also subliminally sends a message to the landlord or property manager that you are punctual in your habits and are likely to be punctual in paying your rent.
- Don’t hide the fact you have a pet
It’s a simple fact that landlords and property managers will often avoid renters with pets, rather than guessing that your dog is going to be well-behaved and house-trained. Avoid potential problems in your application process by suggesting a pet interview – this will give the person managing your property the ability to make a personal assessment of your pet’s behaviour and demeanour.
Following these six tips will show your future landlord or property manager that you will be a responsible tenant who is likely to take care of their apartment. Best practice? Apply for rentals as if you were applying for a new job. In both situations, the ratio of qualified appliances to openings is high, so you may up against strong competition. So if you’re genuinely interested in your apartment, set yourself apart from others being considered.