Trying to secure a rental property can be soul destroying - especially since you-know-what happened in 2020. Some parts of the country are spoilt for choice, while others have queues as far as the eye can see turning up to inspections.
With so much competition and uncertainty, it's essential that your rental application for every property is strong. There are a few things you can do to secure a rental property and it's about much more than just the rental property application form itself. What you do before and after you submit an application can have just as much impact as the form itself. So, work your way through these tips and put yourself well ahead of the dozens of others vying for the same rental property as you.
First impressions count
It goes without saying that you should submit it as they requested - if they want it electronically then email it, if they want a hard copy then print it and hand deliver it. You can do both though if you feel it's warranted. Submitting an application at the open inspection is a great way to get in first AND be memorable - at which point you also get to talk to the agent, make a connection and let them know you'll email them everything too for their convenience. The less work the agent has to do, the more they will love you. This means answering all the questions as asked, filling out all the sections required in the rental property application and providing the necessary documentation. Signing up for a 1 Form tenancy profile is almost obligatory these days. It retains all of your personal information, as well as previous properties applied for. It also offers a seamless solution to lodging your applications and can be logged into and updated over the years as your rental history progresses.
It's not commonly done but some people like to include a cover letter with their application to give some background on who they are and why they'd be a good tenant. This can be useful if you've recently returned from living overseas, have been self-employed for a while, or are recently separated or divorced for example. For those unemployed or experiencing difficulties due to the pandemic, this could be an essential component that helps an agent understand your situation. The cover letter should not make excuses but give a brief overview of your situation, given its less than conventional nature.
Don't forget your target audience
For tenants looking for a new home, one of the most essential aspects of their future is in the hands of two people - an agent and a landlord. The agent collects all of the applications and of course will sort through them to sift out the best of the bunch. However, these are then passed on to the landlord and the final decision ultimately rests with them.
When putting your application together, remember it's BOTH of them you need to grab the attention of and impress. One much overlooked area for many applicants is their social media profiles. If you've been diligently updating your LinkedIn profile, this can be a great addition to your application. If, however your Facebook, Instagram and other social media accounts present a more questionable version of yourself to the world, clean them up, or change your privacy settings immediately. Landlords will often use Facebook to check out a prospective tenant - is it more often than not provides an excellent overview of who you are, what you do with your time and who your friends and are family are. Consider how your profiles look to an outsider, before you allow just anyone to see your 'true' personality.
Show them the money
A landlord wants a good tenant, but they also want someone who is financially stable. If they're overwhelmed with applications, they will first and foremost, make sure your application is realistic and their property is something you can afford. In theory, your rent shouldn't be more than about 30 to 40% of your income, so work out a budget and use that as your frame of reference when looking. In addition, try to put aside the bond and the first month's rent and let the agent know you have it on your application.
To convince them of your longer-term prospects, it might be useful to include some bank statements. This is particularly useful if you're self-employed and can't produce pay slips - or recently unemployed due to the pandemic. Offer a 3-to-6-month summary of your invoices and a bank statement to show payments were made, or the last couple of BAS statements to gives them a sense of how solid and consistent your income is, as well as your ability to take care of your expenses.
If you're employed then pay slips and bank statements, or maybe something that proves your duration of employment should do the trick. Keep in mind that bank statements will also include evidence of direct debits which will work in your favour. Highlighting your regular gym membership or car payments shows you have decent cash flow and an established history of committing to payments.