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8 tips for a winning rental application

By Thanh Ngo

Depending on where you live and what your budget is, the rental market in Australia can be pretty brutal.

If you show up to a rental inspection with fifty other people, you can’t afford to be cavalier about your application. If an agent is trying to choose between you and another application and they have their bond, first month’s rent and a list of perfect references you need to match them and top them.

Here are eight things to consider when submitting a rental application.

1. Make sure you have all the correct documentation

The real estate agent should provide you with a list of documents that you need to bring but it can’t hurt to be over prepared. In most instances you’ll need references, the completed application form, pet references if applicable, pay slips or proof of employment, photo ID and a cover letter. Make sure you have all of these documents copied and ready to submit to the agent because they aren’t going wait around while you duck to the newsagent to make a photocopy of your passport. Have everything copied, certified if necessary and organised into a folder that you can hand to the real estate agent on the day.

2. Save time & apply online

We barely use snail mail for anything anymore, so why should rental applications be any different? If you click on the apply button on any property in our rent section, you’ll be redirected to a simple online tenant application. Forget printing, scanning, photocopying, stamping and walking to the postbox – fill in a single form that gets automatically emailed to the property manager.

3. Get your housemates into gear

Your housemates don’t have to attend the property inspection (although this is preferable) but you need to get their full and completed application and references. If you have a complete set of documentation for all members of the household you’ve got a better chance of being on the top of the pile.

Apply online straight after the inspection, and you can bypass the pile altogether. You’ll be be sure your information won’t get lost or cast aside. Agents will be unlikely to waste their time chasing people for important information.

4. Be on time

This is a general courtesy rule but one that is applicable to all professions. Holding an open house is quite stressful and usually agents work solo in circumstances like this, so they’re very busy on the day. If you’re ready and waiting when they arrive they might remember when the time comes to choose a tenant.

5. Make your application as uncomplicated as possible

Only submit the necessary documents. It’s fine to have any additional documents you think you might need on hand, but only submit what the agent asks for.

6. Be presentable at the inspection

You don’t have to wear a suit but it’s important to look presentable. It shows you’re keen to secure the property and that you’re taking the application process seriously. If you show up looking like you mean business, you could increase your chances of success.

7. Be reasonable & pleasant on the day of the inspection

If you’re the only people applying to live in the property, this could give you a little extra power to ask for repairs to the property or a reduction in rent. However, if you’re up against another dozen people who are also applying, you’re not in a position to bargain or be demanding. Being pleasant rather than pushy can put you in the good graces of the agent.

8. Follow up

If you’ve submitted an application and you haven’t heard anything 48 hours later, do send a follow up to the agent. Let them know you’re very interested in the property and that you’re happy to provide any additional information or references they might need. They may well be trying to decide between your application and another candidate and if they receive a pleasant message from you, it might just put you at the top of their list.


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