Basics of Apartment Hunting
So you’ve decided that Melbourne’s a pretty nifty place to be and have started looking around for a suitable place to rent. House hunting can be a rather stressful and tiresome time especially for students. So we’ve gathered a few tips and essentials to help you on your way.
1. Be prepared
With apartments and houses flying off like hot cakes, hunting for rental especially in Melbourne has turned into a competitive sport. It requires preparation and strategy. It pays to have all your documents photocopied and ready and your application form filled out. Just in case you walk into a place you just love, you’ll have a better chance if you submit your application to the agent on site. Go back home and email it to the agent on the same day if you could not do it right there and then. There is nothing wrong with applying for more than one place at any given time; it heightens your chances of acquiring a place quickly.
2. Timing is everything
The good thing about renting in or close to student concentrated areas is a high turnover. The best time to start your hunt will generally be between the months of November to February. During the summer months, students who have completed their degrees prepare to leave Melbourne –leaving many openings in a variety of dwellings like student accommodations, private dwellings to even share houses become available. The cycle continues and the summer frenzy begins again.
If you find yourself out of these golden months, try a search as close to the 1st of every month. Why? Most leases tend to end close to the end of the month and dwellings become available and are uploaded onto the Internet within the first week of the month.
Put on your dirty mitts and huddle up, it’s time to get serious. You won’t know what hit you when you trot off to your first viewing only to be greeted by 20 other people viewing the same place. This is your time to shine. Try and stand out of the crowd. Your initial planning has prepared you for this. If you like what you see, win over the agent – he/she is the point of contact to the landlord. At the end of the day, it is the landlord’s decision, but an agent is able to convey their impression of you to the landlord therefore raising your chances of scoring the apartment you want.
If it looks like the scales may tip out of your favour and you can afford it, some people engage in rental bidding and offer between AUD$10 – 20 dollar more a week. The landlord would feel inclined to choose the higher offer out of the masses that are only willing to pay the flat rate. Although this is not a guarantee as some landlords do not engage in rental bidding.
Having a roommate helps immensely in many ways; you have company in your home and they help with the rent. If you have someone in mind, confirm your roommates ahead of time and lock down all their details. Decide whose name is going on the rental agreement and work out all the kinks before you even start thinking about applying. An untrustworthy roommate who can’t pay his rent on time puts the entire house at risk for eviction even for tenants who do pay on time. And if it is your name on the tenant agreement, you will be held responsible.