6 tips for finding the perfect rental property

IMG_0172I’m lucky enough to live in a centrally-located area close to good schools and the university. I am even luckier to have, on my property, a lovely 2-bedroomed cottage I can rent out. The area’s so popular that when a tenant moves on and I advertise the cottage, I’m inundated by people wanting to view it. I don’t even have to use an agent – with so many potential tenants I don’t need to, and so far I’ve always found good ones.

Of course for security reasons I don’t want to let just anyone onto my property and it’s not really fair on my existing tenant to allow loads of people to traipse through the house, so I have to be selective about who gets to see it. With an average of 15 – 35 replies a day after I’ve posted an ad, I generally choose only one or two of those to see the cottage.

It isn’t hard to pick when these are some of the replies I get:

id like to view the cottage so can you let mek now when?

Im interestid in this house.

or, simply,

Please can you tell me when I can view it?

It’s difficult to find property to rent, especially in certain areas. Landlords really do have the luxury of being picky.  You may be the best, most reliable tenant in the world, but if you don’t make a good first approach, you’re not even going to get a viewing.

On Gumtree, the site I use, you can see how many times an ad has been viewed, so it’s pretty easy to guess how many people have applied. If you give your potential landlord no clue about yourself, who you are and what you do, do you really expect them to give you access to what is, in many cases, their own home?

So, from a landlord’s point of view, and having spoken to many other landlords in a similar position, here are my top 6 rules for applying for a property.

  1. Say something about yourself. I want to know who is going to be living on my property, so tell me. Where do you work? Are you a student? Do you have children? Do you have pets? This way I can identify who I want to contact. I welcome tenants with children, but I know of other landlords who will choose couples over families.
  2. Ask questions. You don’t want to waste your time either, so find out if the property is in a convenient location for you, whether electricity and water is included, if there’s wi-fi, and anything that hasn’t been mentioned in the ad.
  3. Get your spelling and grammar right – it gives a much better impression. It’s not just me who judges on this! Ditto for capital letters and punctuation. If you can’t be bothered to check your email before sending it off it gives me the impression you may not be bothered to pay the rent.
  4. Give your number so I can contact you directly.
  5. Say you have references from previous landlords so I can check up with them.
  6. Be proactive. Post an ad yourself, saying what you’ve looking for and something about yourself. That way I can contact you and, if it’s a good fit, you’ve saved yourself a lot of bother!

Potential tenants are often under the impression that it’s first come, first served and that the quicker you reply to an ad, the better. This isn’t the case at all. Landlords are looking for people who are reliable, responsible and who will take care of their property. Rather take a bit of time to craft your reply to the ad. That way you’re more likely to get a viewing and find your perfect home!