How to improve your rental application during worst housing crisis in ‘generations’

 In Home News Section, Home Slider Section, Uncategorized

Are you struggling to find a rental? Sick and tired of applying for dozens of properties only to get rejection after rejection?

You are not alone. Experts say it has never been harder to find a home.

It is a stressful time for many Australian families as the housing crisis bites, fuelled by a perfect storm of rising interest rates, record-low vacancies, and a critical lack of affordable and public housing.

Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute director Michael Fotheringham says the market is in a state of chaos.

“The rental market, particularly in Queensland but in fact right across Australia, is in a pretty bad way,” he says.

“It is probably worse than it has been for a number of generations.

“It is a very tough situation at the moment. There simply isn’t enough rental housing to go around and really intense competition for every property.”

On the Gold Coast, one of the toughest rental markets in the country, real estate agents have reported as many as 100 people are attending inspections.

But it is not all bad news, with the average property receiving as few as seven serious applications.

The ABC spoke to the city’s leading property managers to find out ways to improve an application and increase your chances of finding a home.

Be prepared

First National Real Estate principal Rob Rollington, based in Surfers Paradise, says having the proper paperwork will boost your chances significantly.

“We would estimate 50 per cent of applications are not filled out completely,” he says.

“They are thinking, ‘I just have to get my application in on as many properties as I can’. But they are making a fatal mistake.”

A real estate agent’s goal is to deliver results for the landlord as quickly as possible.

Their number one tip is to ensure an application being submitted is complete with up-to-date contact information and any necessary supporting documents, including proof of income, rental history, and references.

A surprisingly large number of applications are incomplete and will immediately be sent to the bottom of the pile.

Head of Ray White Burleigh Group Tiger Malan says a complete application is the best way to improve your likelihood of getting approved.

“We often get people who fill out 90 per cent of the application and submit it. By the time we follow up and their references come in, someone else has already been accepted,” he says.

Sell yourself

The old saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”, is true, so be presentable and polite at open homes.

It is standard practice for agents and owners to search for you online, so make sure there is nothing on your social media profile that you don’t want them to see.

Inspections are becoming so crowded that you may not get the chance to interact with the leasing agent.

If you do not get an opportunity to introduce yourself, adding a personal touch to your application by including a short cover letter will help you stand out.

“I know it sounds a bit old-school but property managers love that. It only needs to be a few sentences but it gives a bit of background,” Mr Rollington says.

Mr Malan says landlords usually rely on the judgement of the property manager, so being friendly goes a long way.

“At the end of the day, the owner does choose but they will often take an agent recommendation,” he says.

“If you are quick and nice, nine times out of 10 the application goes to the owner with a recommendation.”

What to do

Property managers and owners are ultimately looking for three things in a tenant: the capacity to pay rent, a track record of paying rent, and someone who will not damage the property.

Be honest about your financial situation, employment status, and rental history.

Landlords are more likely to choose tenants who are transparent and truthful.

What you do for work is not as important as you may think. Agents say having a high-paying job is not the be-all and end-all.

“We have had doctors trash the place and we have had tradies leave it nicer than when they moved in,” Mr Malan says.

He says an ability to provide strong references is vital to secure a property.

“If your previous property manager will give you reference, that will go a long way,” Mr Malan says.

“[But] references don’t carry a lot of weight unless they are directly related to your actual tenancy.”

What not to do

Agents will avoid a bad rental history and poor references. They also have a keen eye for dishonest applications or people trying to pull wool over their eyes.

“If you are in rental arrears without a justifiable explanation, that’s a problem,” Mr Malan says.

“If your ex-property manager does not want to give you a reference and says, ‘Good luck. They are your problem now’, that’s a big one.

“If you attend the inspection with three people who are obviously going to be living with you and then only one person puts in an application, we normally will look for things like that.”

Pets and families

While there is no doubt having pets or children can make it more difficult to find a home, it is no reason to give up hope.

Mr Malan says some investors are actually more likely to accept families.

“It’s definitely harder because it does take some properties out of the market. Not all landlords like dogs and not all landlords like kids,” he says.

“Owners tend to match who they are. Older people want older tenants. Young families want to give other young families a chance.”

Mr Rollington says photos and cover letters are particularly important when it comes to dogs and kids, and honesty is always the best policy.

“Be up-front. There are lots of landlords who love pets. Most people are open to pets,” Mr Rollington says.

“The worst thing you can do is keep that information to yourself.

“If it gets found out later, it can cause you some grief.”

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(Original ABC Article)