Moving and finding a new home to rent can be a very emotionally and financially stressful task. It can be hard to find a home you want to move into, much less actually secure the home you want. Completing a rental application can be a big step to getting into the home of your dreams.
As with most things, the more you know the easier the process can be. While it’s impossible to remove all the stress from finding a new home to rent, one major mistake makes it a lot harder for people to get into their dream homes.
What’s the No. 1 Biggest Mistake You Can Make when Applying for a Rental Property?
We get lots of rental applications on every rental property we market. While we get a lot of applications, it can be easy to stand out.
The one big mistake that I constantly see people make is to simply not complete their rental application.
Often, people will come through the home. The more they see, the more they know they really love it and they decide they want to move into it. So, naturally, they send in a rental application. But oops! I usually start to see things go wrong for the applicants at this point. The best thing to keep in mind is that it is not hard to just complete the application. When you just complete the application, you set yourself apart from anyone who submitted an incomplete application or will continue to submit an incomplete application for that property.
People probably think that missing information on a rental is no big deal. I assume many people would wonder why it is so important that all of the information on an application is filled out with appropriate detail.
How an Incomplete Rental Application Causes Delays
Most significantly, incomplete information creates delays in the very first step of the screening process. We have to email the potential tenant(s) back outlining what’s missing, which takes time on our part to comb through and find what exactly we still need. Then, quite often, they will send some of the information that we request but still not all of it. This means not only do we have to wait longer to get the information we need, you’re waiting longer to get information on moving in and your chances of ever moving into that specific house are dwindling. Desirable houses on the Sunshine Coast move quickly and while we’re going back and forth to complete your application, other potential tenants are completing applications regularly.
Generally, people that have supplied all their information at once are the people who move into the home. This is because when people supply a fully completed application, we can move forward with the rest of the process quickly. We are also much more likely to respond more quickly because it is simpler and less involved to respond to a complete application than to an incomplete application.
While we have to wait for an incompetent applicant to send all of their information to complete their application, we receive and process many other applications. We might approve one of the other applications for that specific property. Don’t be that applicant, instead take the extra time and complete the application in full the first time and get much better chances of moving into that home!
What Goes on Your Rental Application?
Since getting incomplete applications is so incredibly common despite the simplicity of completing an application before submitting, you might think our application must be exhaustive and time consuming. It isn’t at all though. So, then, what will you need to submit for a complete application?
100 Points Worth of Identification
Some things that are worth ID points are a birth certificate, driver’s license, or a Medicare card. Right here is a handy link to a comprehensive list of what can make up your 100 (or more) points of ID. Unless you are very confident about your forms of ID, the best way to ensure you supply at least 100 points and therefore a complete application is to submit 200 points of ID. Surprisingly to me, many people submit their applications to us and upon review we find that their various forms of identification are worth less than one hundred points. This is one of the most common missing or incomplete pieces of information that causes an unnecessary back and forth.
An easy example of how to get to 100 points is with a birth certificate and driver’s license. A birth certificate (or passport) is worth 70 points. It’s important to remember that a birth certificate and passport together are not worth 140 points. Either is worth 70 alone but not respectively when put together. The driver’s license is worth 40 points. These together are 110 points which is sufficient for our requirements. Congratulations! However, if you don’t have those exact documents it can definitely be a little confusing. That’s why we recommend to just submit 200 points, because you can’t have too much ID and having too little throws a wrench in the process. We also highly recommend to use the list we referenced to be sure of how much everything you submit is worth. Don’t forget to read the details for each!
Proof of Income for your Rental Application
If you have a job, it is super easy to obtain proof of your income. We just need your two most recent payslips. If you have only recently become employed at your current company, then we will need to see your employment agreement. It is actually fine if you do not have a job at the time you submit a rental application. If you’re in this situation, then we just need to see your Centrelink payments. If you are someone who is self-employed, you simply submit your two most recent BAS statements when you submit your application for consideration. We simply want to ensure you are prepared to handle the rent and will be comfortable with the payments. It is in everyone’s best interest for you to be able to comfortably make your rent payments.
Proof of Employment
As part of the screening process, we are going to want to contact your employer as a reference and proof of employment. To do this, we will need the name, email address, and phone number of your current employer. If you do not know the email address, please get it or we will consider the missing email address as an incomplete application and this incompleteness will delay the timely processing of your overall application. This is an easy way to stand out and have your application processed in a more timely manner.
Previous Two Landlords or Property Managers
It’s surprising how often the information supplied on rental applications is wrong. I should have mentioned earlier, while complete information is important accurate information might be even more important. The area for previous landlords and property managers is the most common area for information to be present but incorrect.
We will need you to list your two most recent landlords or property managers as references. Without this information, we can’t approve you, thus preventing your progression from potential tenant to current tenant. If you’ve previously only lived at home, we will need your parents’ details. In the case you’ve previously lived with friends, we would need their details. If you just sold a house or are in the process of selling your house, then we would need your sales agent’s details. As with your current employer, for any of these people we will need their names, phone numbers, and email addresses so we can call and email them as needed.
Do You Have Pets? Include Them on the Rental Application
Any pets you have or plan to get, you will want to include their species, age, sex, and breed. It is important that landlords or property managers have this information, as many homes only permit certain types and sizes of animals or may not permit any animals at all. Omitting this information is not smart and will only lead to problems in the long run.
If you are applying with other people all of their details will need to be included on the rental application, too. This means their ID, proof of income, proof of employment, and references from their last two residences. Missing information of this type will ultimately prevent the application from being processed as quickly as possible, wasting valuable time in getting the home you want the most.
Why Is the Processing of Your Rental Application Delayed?
Usually, the main reason an application will be submitted but not processed is that information is missing or incomplete. (Shocker, ha!) The second most common reason for a delay in processing is that we are waiting to hear back from a past property manager. The last common stop in the application review process is for the property owners to view the potential tenants’ applications and this step can take some time and will delay any decisions from being reported.
How to Give yourself the Best Chance of Being Chosen?
- Supply a complete application from the get-go (avoid the biggest mistake)
- Have a move in date that is sooner rather than later – landlords and property managers want to avoid vacancy above many other things as this is a huge money-waster
- Inspect the property fast once you get the chance
- Consider paying rent in advance if possible. Eg. 1 month always in advance to indicate that you are serious about moving in and can afford the rent. You can’t legally be asked to pay rent in advance, but you can offer it. e.g. 6 months would help.
- Consider offering a little more than the advertised amount, as this will set you apart and could be the deciding factor if it’s between you and someone else in the final review. This is especially effective if you are applying for a very high-interest home
- Offer a 12-month lease, as this offers security to the property manager or landlord and helps to prevent their biggest fear: vacancy
- Ask the property manager what would they like to see from you to be selected – this shows that you genuinely care and want to fit in with the home
- Apply for homes in your budget and suit your needs to prevent wasting yours or the property managers’ time. The RTA has a handy article about that here.
Loading your Application into 21Form
Our firm will only take rental applications via 1Form. The main advantage for you is that all your data is nice and neat in one location and you can use it across multiple agencies. I would recommend you load everything onto this now if you’re in the market to rent a new home, so you have it all ready to go and can ensure nothing is missing.
Completing a Rental Application with No Rental History
OK, I know a few of you will not like this, but it has to be said. When people apply with no previous rental history, it makes it very hard for those people to be chosen against people that have references with a history we can check up on and who can provide evidence of their ability to make rent payments.
Even with history with a private landlord, though, it can be harder because private landlords are rarely as detailed as a professional property manager. So, you might ask, how can young people secure a rental property with no history of renting successfully? Have your partner’s go guarantor, or start renting through a private landlord first and be an exceptional tenant to them for 6 months before applying to a professionally managed property. You can also list additional references on your rental application and offer to pay additional months of rent up front, as previously mentioned.
Other Obstacles to Finding a Home to Rent
If you’ve previously fallen behind in rental payments, this will inevitably make it harder for you to be chosen for a rental. Alternatively, if you have ever had a notice that you breached your lease or if you did not get your full bond back from your last home, you may have more trouble finding another property manager to rent from. You always want to get your full bond back when you leave a home after renting.
If you have changed jobs a lot or not stayed in a job long, it may be difficult to provide a convincing proof of reliable employment.
Lastly, if you plan to have a lot of people living in the home you hope to rent, landlords may consider you less seriously. Lots of people boils down to lots of wear and tear.
The bottom line is you need to submit a complete rental application, pay your rent on time, look after the property and get your full bond back. It’s really that simple. If you don’t have any past rental history, you can have your parents or guardians be guarantors. Once you start renting and start to build a good reputation, securing a home becomes much easier.