10 TIPS to help you secure a good rental property.
by Neil Jenman
Reading time: Apx 6.5 mins
If you’re trying to rent a home today, it’s bad news. Rental costs soaring with available homes vanishing. Stories of greedy landlords, dreadful properties and heartless agents.
In many parts of Australia, trying to find a home to rent is so depressing. No other word for it.
For now, let’s put aside blaming and complaining. Let’s try and find good news, especially for those who need it most, decent folk trying to rent a home.
At the risk of criticism, I’ve put together ten tips that I hope will help renters to handle this current ‘rental crisis’.
Tip 1. STOP COMPLAINING.
As much as you may dislike that cliché, “It is what it is”, it’s true. The cost of renting is the most unaffordable in living memory. If you want culprits, you’ll find plenty: from landlords to agents to regulators even banks, many villains can be your voodoo dolls.
But what good will complaining do?
Indeed, the more you ‘stew’, the more upset you’ll get. And because your internal mood is often reflecting in your external attitude, you need to emanate the right ‘vibe’ to attract the right property – or to be more correct, those who can help us find a good home.
So, get rid of the frown. Accept that if you want to (or must) live in a major city or a sought-after area, there’s a price the ‘market’ charges. Complaining – as justified as it may be – will hurt you most.
As silly as it may sound, it’s like finding a good parking spot: If you believe there’s one waiting for you, it’ll soon show up.
Tip 2. LOOK YOUR BEST.
Life is a competition. Especially when we seek something worth having – a good career, a good partner, and yes, a good home to rent.
If you aspire to the best, strive to be the best. When you are competing for something worthwhile, presentation is paramount.
It doesn’t matter how much you disagree; it doesn’t even matter what “the law” states, the way you look determines what you hook.
I’m not saying that face studs, ‘born to lose’ neck tattoos or spiked hair is wrong. I’m not saying you must use deodorant or wash regularly. Your body, your choice.
But I am saying that if you want a clean and tidy home, it will greatly increase your chances if you present as a clean and tidy person.
As much as it may annoy you, swallow your pride, put your ego aside and be courteous and considerate to those who can approve your rental application.
Even if you are not the best looking, you can look your best. Always smile and act (or be!) happy.
Do you know one of the main reasons owners and agents give for choosing tenants? It’s so simple: “They were such nice people.”
Be the best (nicest) applicants.
As the monk, Thich Nhat Hanh famously said: “Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.”
Tip 3. PROPER PAPERWORK.
The surest way to make the ‘short-list’ for the best rental properties is to fully complete the application form. Answer all questions. Be neat and clear.
If you make the rental manager work hard to figure out what you are saying – or to chase information you omitted – they will likely toss your application aside.
Make it easy for owners and agents to approve you.
According to one agent in Brisbane, only five per cent of applicants complete the tenancy application properly. That’s near inexcusable.
Therefore, to get ahead of 95 per cent of applicants, be proper with your paperwork.
Tip 4. A TENACY RESUMÉ.
You prepare a resumé to obtain job, why not prepare a resumé to obtain a home? It doesn’t need to be long or fancy. It just needs to be sincere and, like your job resumé, contain your positive qualities.
For example: Your full identification. Where you are currently living. Why you need to re-locate. Your current occupation. Your likes, including hobbies or sports. And, most importantly, contact numbers of people who can vouch for you. If you have a rental history, include it – including your excellent record of paying promptly and keeping a home in good condition.
If you have details of your current residence – especially photographs of the exterior and the interior – this will help. Assuming you keep your current home in excellent condition.
Understand this vital point: Owners want to rent their property to the best applicant. They don’t want a tenant who’ll trash their home or be late with rent.
Be the best applicant and you’ll almost certainly get the best home.
Tip 5. GET RECOMMENDED.
Surely you know someone who knows an agent (or owner) in the area you seek. Think. If you can find a credible person to vouch for you, this may be all you need.
Often, I am contacted by people I know. If I believe they will look after a property, I will contact the owner of a real estate agency.
In 100 per cent of such cases, people find a good home – and often before these homes are placed on the rental market.
Tip 6. OWNERS GET PRIORITY.
If you own a home in the area in which you rent – or know someone who does own a home – and that home may be for sale soon, tell the agent.
If doing business with you now means more business for them (especially soon), you will get priority.
Okay, if you own a home, why do you need to rent one? All sorts of reasons.
Tip 7. SHOW THE MONEY.
One of the great fears of owners is tenants who won’t pay rent. Contrary to mythology, many owners are not rich. Calling them “land lords” is a throwback to English feudal times.
Tenants have rent to pay, and owners have loans to pay.
If tenants don’t pay rent – or if they are late, the owners may be late paying loans. This leads to penalty interest or, in extreme cases, legal costs, even repossession of their assets, including the home being rented.
Even the thought of tenants not paying rent on time is a living nightmare to many owners.
So, be a dream tenant and offer two or three months rent in advance. While it’s not legal for owners to demand more than a month in advance, it’s not illegal for tenants to offer more.
Be a dream tenant and offer to pay well in advance and you’ll likely be advanced in the queue of rental applicants.
A slight caution: Don’t offer too much in advance – they may suspect you’re up to no good.
Tip 8. PROMOTE YOURSELF
Instead of (or ‘as well as’) scouring on-line advertisements, place your own advertisement. Most areas have a community Facebook page. Write something good about yourself; maybe include a nice photo. State what you are looking for and, you’ll likely get calls from owners – or someone who knows someone.
One couple printed 500 flyers headed ‘Home Wanted’. They delivered them in the area in which they wished to live. Within three days, they found two homes for rent.
Some couples place a notice on the board at their local shopping mall. It often works. If you work in a busy environment – like a hospital or a school – ditto, use their notice board.
Don’t be shy about promoting yourself.
Tip 9. THINK.
As well as ‘putting out a good vibe’, have good thoughts. Positive thoughts.
How do you get ahead of the rental crowds?
How do you find a home to rent before it’s publicly advertised?
Who’s now living in the property you seek?
What blocks of apartments have a large percentage of rental properties.
Do what [hard working agents] do: Drive around an area; look for clues of people moving.
If you see a skip-bin, it’s a clue.
If you see a removalist, bigger clue.
Look for garage or clearance sales. Anyone selling any household goods.
If you approach any owner in a street and ask: “Who knows what goes on in this street?”, they may tell you about Mrs Dorothy McGoss at Number 17. She knows everything that goes on in the neighbourhood.
Go and see the gossip lady. You’ll be amazed what you’ll discover.
Tip 10. MORE PERSONAL MORE CHANCE
We live in a world where high-speed and short-texts are all the rage.
Courtesy and humanity are so rare they cause near amazement. Plus, a great impression. Instead of a blunt email saying, “see attached”, write something personal.
Humanise yourself. Say why you want the home.
If it is near a school for your children, say it.
If you have friends or relatives nearby, say so.
If you love the home, make it known.
Tell the agent or the owner what they long to hear: “If we are given this home, we will protect it and care for it like it’s our own. You have our personal word on that – as well as our signatures.”
I hope something in these ten tips will help you find a home to rent. If you’re a good person looking for a good home and you need more help, feel welcome to contact us at Jenman Support. We will always do our best for those who do their best.
The real estate world can seem heartless, but I assure you, it’s not all bad. There are good homes and good owners.
As for the agents, no one works harder for less pay than those in rental departments. It’s the toughest job in real estate.
Treat them well – and they’ll love you for it.