In some areas, the price of rent and competition for rental properties is fierce. Numerous people turn up each time, as single parents we rely mainly on the single parents pension from Centrelink, sometimes some PAYG work or some self-employment income. In. most cases child support is nonexistent, basically our finances more often than not, look terrible. Add to that when I looked for rentals I had no rental history because I had been a home owner, I was a pretty poor applicant on paper when going up against families, or double income no kids couples.
I have some tricks that have landed me a house to rent, every time and many agents have commented on it.
Here’s what I do.
1. ) Speak to the agent
Before I go to a rental, I check the listing, download the application form if there is one then I call the agent and ask him if it is possible to bring the application form with me on the day because I am quite keen. If there is no application online I call and request one to be emailed to me so I can bring it on the inspection day. When you arrive, its easy to start conversation because its “Hi, I’m Wilhelmina Ford and I spoke on the phone about bringing in my application … “. Agents want keen applicants.
2.) Have your application ready
I have the application filled out, I leave the lease term blank and discuss it with the agent. Some owners like 6 months, others 12. If you are willing to be flexible it is more appealing to both agents and landlords.
3.) Letter to the landlord
I includ a letter to the landlord. In the first paragraph I state how I would like to rent their house, how I understand as a landlord they want someone who will take good care of the property and how I will be that someone.
In the next paragraph I outline the features of the home that make it suitable for my family and specifics of why I want to rent it.
Next, I talk about why I am a good tenant. I am clear that I am a single mum of 2 children, I have always been a home owner, I also work from home, I don’t smoke, I don’t have pets, I don’t drink or throw big parties etc.
The next paragraph is where I outline my income, although it looks small on paper I manage my money well and have other sources of income (which I outline). I discuss how I keep my bills below average and how I source things for free or cheap. (I include copies of my bills to back this up)
My closing paragraph recaps why I love their property and how I will look after it.
4.) Create a file
With the application and letter in hand, I create a file. I get a folder or even a plastic sleeve to put in the following:
– My filled in application
– Letter to the landlord
– Photocopied id: Actually, I scan and print mine, front and back – my licence, debit card and Medicare card. I have previously photocopied them at the library when I couldn’t use my scanner.
– Electricity and gas bills: These are included to prove identification and because mine are lower than average it makes my overall financial situation look better. This shows I am frugal and my expenses aren’t as high as others.
– All income documents: I included child support documentation even when I didn’t get it, maternity allowance, my self-employed income (I include my tax certificate to prove income plus a recent bank statement to show how much and where money comes from as that is higher than my tax shows due to deductions.) and my part time work payslips. A statement or letter for each income source is included.
– Letter outlining income: I do this because I am self-employed. If I worked for a wage I wouldn’t bother about doing this letter.
I put all of these papers together in a folder and label it – Wilhelmina Ford xx address (whatever the address of the property is).
With this in hand, when I go to apply it’s easy. I look at the house and leave my application with the agent on the day. It’s easy for them because everything is ready to go and in order. Time is money – this saves them time and it means they just hand a file to the landlord as well, making it easier on everyone.
One final thing – when I look at rental properties I dress in business attire. Looking like a professional makes me stand out. I know at each open home I have been to I have been the only one dressed this way and the agents tend to talk to me for longer. The agents are the ones who recommend you to the landlord so building a rapport, looking professional and being friendly really helps.
Happy Rental Hunting ~ Wilhelmina Ford