Rental Properties in Melbourne: Tips for securing your dream home

The competition is intense on rental properties in Melbourne at the moment The median rents keeps on climbing, increasing the need for renters to stay informed and maximise your chances of securing a rental property.

In 2013, the rental vacancy rate in Melbourne is 3.7 per cent and the house median rent in Melbourne is $390 per week, This is only a median rent as you are most likely to spend $500 or more a week for a 2 bedrooms house in some of the popular suburbs.

Like most of the new comers in Melbourne, I have been renting for more than 4 years before becoming interested in the real estate.

I would like to share with you some of my experience and tips to maximise your chance to secure a lease.

1 - Do your homework

Do some research a week or two in advance if you can, to give yourself an idea of whether the rent you’re budgeting for will really get you what you want. If you’ll be using public transport to get to school/work, then look for public transport stops too. No need to start the inspection too early because the owner will not be able to hold the property for you.

Using and Domain plus Google Map to give you an idea of what’s available in your price range in the areas you are interested in. Keep an open mind – make sure you tick the “Include surrounding suburbs” box when searching on a suburb name or postcode.

Have a look to the great places for investment to have an idea of the good suburbs in Melbourne. The suburbs for buying a property are also the most popular for rental properties in Melbourne. Only difference, you may be able to find a property in one of the top suburbs where you would not be able to afford buying something.

Most of the rental properties in Melbourne that you will find are managed by a real estate agent but I have found one private rental through Domain.

2 - Prepare your application

It is important to prepare the key documents prior to the inspection. If you have the documentation ready it could make the difference during the inspection between you and another applicant.

The most common documents to prepare are:

  • Reference lettersany reference letters you may have had from past landlords and your previous agent. Anything to show that you are "the perfect tenant". Sometimes you can also obtain a rental ledger from your previous agent with the summary of your payment history.
  • Pay slipsproof of employment, your previous pay slips and bank statements will demonstrate you are financially able to rent the property.
  • Pet referencesif you have a pet, it is advised to include a pet reference from your past or current landlord
  • ID passport or driver licence. Some agent ask for 100 points of ID part of the application process.
  • Cover letteryou may even wish to include a cover letter with your application form, reinforcing the reasons why your application should be considered by the agency / landlord. This extra effort will demonstrate a type of professionalism which will surely stand out from the crowd. The cover letter allowed me to secure one property in the past.

3 - Plan your inspection

The properties advertised on Domain or Realestate will usually have 2 sessions of planned inspection per week, one during the week usually on the Wednesday evening and another one on Saturday.

It is also better if you could visit during the week. This can make the difference between being the first and sometimes the only person to see a property, versus being one of a large throng who attend on a Saturday viewing. However some of the properties in popular suburbs I visited could have 20 people in the 15 minutes inspection time slot even during the week.

Nothing stops you from ringing the agent and ask if you could schedule another inspection time. It is great if you could have your own session.

4 - Important things to check whilst inspecting rental properties in Melbourne

Write a list in advance about the things important for you and then check them during the Inspection. As the market is extremely competitive, you may not have a second opportunity to come back.

Here is what my list looked like:

  • Location: close to shops, restaurant and public transport
  • Neighbourhood: It is important to have a good feeling with the neighbourhood
  • Exposure: Northern exposure is better in the south hemisphere
  • Space: Large living area
  • Kitchen and bathroom: it is so pleasant to have a fully renovated kitchen and bathroom
  • Outside area: it improves so much your life style if you could have a backyard
  • Heating: You will have some cold days during Melbourne winter, so it is important to have a good heating system. Actually this one was on top of my wish-list

If you really like the property, it is very important to fill the application form and provide the list of the document to the agent ASAP.

You could even apply straight away during the inspection if you want to make a difference with your competitors.

5 - Post Inspection

Ensure you follow up with the agent a few days after you have attended the inspection. This will showcase your interest and dedication to the property, as well as guarantee that the agent knows your name, hence becoming more familiar with you and your application.

It is important to be prepared to pay the first month’s rent and a bond should you be successful.

Good luck with your house-hunting!

› Rental Property

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