How to secure your rental

How to beat the competition to that rental.

We frequently hear stories from would-be renters that they attend numerous property viewings but miss out repeatedly on securing the property.  As property managers, we see many parties attend these viewing. We can tell you what we’re looking for and we have some obvious criteria for the preferred tenant. Here are some valuable tricks that will secure that property for you and beat the competition to that property for rent.

Be prepared – make it easy for the property manager by giving away some information.

Out of all the parties that come to a viewing, and there could be around 20 to 30, we see on average one in ten who is prepared. That means that they have everything ready to hand over.

When you rent a property, there are some obvious questions that the property manager or the landlord want to know. Why not save them the hassle of asking? Here is a list for what you should have in a ready folder, in writing, that you can hand over at the time of viewing.

  • A brief bio.
  • A short paragraph on the circumstances that led to you looking for a rental (e.g. your current landlord is selling).
  • An indication of your employment. Be specific if you want to, but definitely give sufficient information to reflect that you’re not a risk.
  • How many people would be staying in the home, their ages and their names.
  • Whether you have pets and the type of pet. That includes small pets like hamsters and budgies.
  • Any references, even if they are not related to rental property, i.e. a work reference is useful.
  • Show contact numbers of your references and naturally contact numbers for yourself.

Be communicative – Find a time to chat to the landlord of property manager

Usually, the property is open for about an hour. Arrive early to leave yourself enough time to work on a set of questions about the property. Think about it, with 30 parties, there are on average two minutes to chat to the property manager. You want to make sure that you get more time than that.  Once the rush has eased, take the time to have a one on one chat with the property manager. This is a time to shine and a time to show your interest in the property. Your questions don’t all have to be positive. Here are some examples and what they really communicate:

  • “Will the carpets be replaced, they look a bit tired?” – Rather than a criticism of the property, it actually shows that you’re interested in a tidy environment.
  • “Who is responsible for looking after the garden?” – You want to make sure that the outside environment is looked after.
  • “Can I do my own gardening.” – You’re a long-term tenant if you’re happy to make plants grow. 
  • Ask about schools and transport in the area.

These type of questions indicate that you’re serious and that you’ve imagined yourself living in the property.

Think of other questions that indicate that you’re keen to rent. See yourself in the home and talk about it. Property managers and landlords find it more difficult to reject parties where the kids have already chosen their bedrooms, where you have worked out that you can park both cars in the garage and where you’ve discussed how to place furniture.

Some important bonus tips for would be tenants

  • It’s OK to take your kids along to a viewing. It may even be a good idea. They are an important part of a home and the property manager may as well meet them.
  • Bonus Bonus tip: Add a picture of yourself to your submission. You’d be wrong to think that your property manager can remember who’s who out of 30 parties. If you include a picture you won’t get confused that that other person who just happened to wear a similar shirt to yours.
  • Be honest. We’ve had tenants that held their hand a few inches above the ground to indicate the size of the dog and on moving day the hound had grown to hip height. We’ve had tenants say that they had a dog and at the first inspection there were 4 dogs. Trust me, being dishonest will lead to problems.
  • Don’t take photographs. You’re in someone else’s home and there are privacy issues. Taking photographs indicates that you’re looking on behalf of someone else.
  • Don’t look on behalf of someone else. The landlord or property manager will want to meet the parties that will live in the property.

About Pets and rental property

You’ll find that many landlords will prefer a solid tenant with a pet to a less desirable party without a pet. Just don’t expect the landlord to allow large dogs. Settle for a small dog or possibly a cat, but best you secure the rental and then discuss pet options with the landlord rather than the other way around. Many landlords will not consider any pets at all.

(Thanks to Hivebox and Usplash for letting us use the image in this post).

Metro NZ Property is a property management company in Auckland, New Zealand. We manage properties mainly in Auckland, Hamilton and Whangarei, and in other parts of world. We focus on the wellbeing of tenants, landlords, the less fortunate, our staff and on the environment.

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