Applying for your first rental property can be daunting. As you walk into the open home and approach the smiling property manager and fumble with your ID to hand it over, your palms are sweaty, knees weak and arms are heavy... I've seen it happen a million times over. I am pleased to let you know- don't be scared! Property managers need your applications, just as much as you need them to get the landlord to approve you for your new home. Be confident, be comfortable, and be SURE- applying for a new home is a big decision, ask the right questions and ensure you are receiving the right answers.
So, without further ado- here are some tips I would encourage you implement when applying for and attending rental properties, without a rental history:
1) Complete EVERY section of the application: If I had to eat a piece of chocolate for every time I received a half completed application, I would be a very, very big woman. If you don't know the answer, or aren't sure- shoot the PM an email, or, ring the office directly. Any answer is better than no answer- oh god, I sound like my year ten math teacher. A half completed application makes me think you only half want the property- and also creates additional phone calls and chase ups for extra information on my behalf. Would you choose the half completed application, or the application that provides all requested information and then some? Yeah... thought so.
2) First Impressions Count: SO, be the best version of yourself. Attend the opens in a tidy and respectable manner, ask if you need to take your shoes off, introduce yourself (CLEARLY), if you have applied for the property already- TELL the manager- but most importantly, just be yourself. Interact with the manager and ask them any questions you may have, which leads me to...
3) Ask the RIGHT Questions: Knowing what you want and that you care about what you want, is an appealing trait for a tenant. Some questions to ask, include:
- What lease term does the landlord want? (This means, how long will the contract period be? Six months? Twelve months? Periodic (month-to-month)?
- Is the landlord likely to renew the lease? What are their intentions with the property?
- Is there anything the landlord doesn't want, for example, pets?
- Is the oven gas, or electric? Is the heating gas, or electric? (This will give you an indication of your utility bills)
- When was the last time the heater was serviced? (This will give you an indication of how much attention the landlord - and PM for that matter- gives to the property.)
4) Ensure you say goodbye to the PM at the open: Make an effort to say thank you and good bye - if there are a lot of people in attendance this will cement your face in the PM's memory. When saying bye, let them know if you will be applying for the property or not. They will make note of this and communicate this back to the landlord.
5) If you like the home, Apply for it... like NOW: If you are very keen, show them you are. Apply as soon as possible.
6) Offer as many references on the application as possible: And by references, I mean genuine, credible references. Not your best friend. Any adult in your life- a family friend, work colleague, ex - teacher, ANYTHING - is a great reference. If you got them, list 'em.
7) Submit a cover letter: With your application, also submit an introductory letter addressed to "The Landlord". Discuss why you are looking at moving out, how you intend to ensure the rent is paid on time and the property kept clean, your future intentions, and a little about yourself: your hobbies and passions. Show your personality through this, and explain that an opportunity to get a foot into the rental market would be of great benefit to you. Talk about your employment. Talk about anything you think will benefit your application.
8) Guarantor for Rent: Some landlords need a little extra confidence. Throughout my experience, I found that a guarantor letter from your parents or (previous) legal guardian - as you have to be over eighteen to apply for a rental property - provides this confidence. A guarantor letter is basically a letter addressed to the landlord and property manager, advising that they (the other person) guarantees that rent will be paid on time and in full, if you as the tenant for some reason couldn't do so.
9) Documents to assist the application: pay slips! These are paper gold. Also, if you have a credit card, or any interest-free payment plans for goods, an invoice or receipt showing you pay this on time and in full will definitely bump your application up the ladder. It shows you are a good person, who pays their bills on time and can clearly manage their financials to ensure you are not late.
10) Keep in touch: Send an email to the PM after you have applied, advising you have applied and if you can receive confirmation that the office has got your application. Ask if they need any further information and that you look forward to their response. Advise you are able to deposit the first months' rent as soon as you are approved (This is a requirement- regardless- for you to secure a lease, but shows the PM you are aware of the process and what is required of you). If you haven't heard from the manager for two business days, then give them a call and ask how the process is going and if there is anything further you can do or any further information you can provide.
The Golden Tip: DON'T GET DISHEARTENED! If your application isn't approved, it isn't because you are a bad person or don't deserve a rental property. Ask the PM why you weren't approved, and use this advice for when you next apply. But sometimes there is no reason, remember, the property market is tough, it's competitive, and you need to keep your head held high and soldier on. Everything happens for a reason, and I have no doubts your dream home awaits you.
Please let me know if the above is of assistance to you, and do not hesitate to contact me with any rental or sales property questions. Phone me at 0428 274 400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org - I talk way too much about it as it is, so I may as well talk about it to YOU!... Speak soon!