Getting a Rental Property in Australia: 5 Mistakes in a Rental Application

Last updated on February 1st, 2024

Personnel Relocations simplifies the process of relocation to make it comfortable and hassle-free at affordable price. One of our services is helping our clients get a rental property in Australia. We have been relocating families from all over the world for more than a decade. 

Once through with the visa application, the rental application is your next big step.  We say big step because the rental market in Australia moves VERY quickly. Good quality rentals are hard to find and will be snapped up either off-market or within a few days.

For many internationals, this is a daunting prospect. You are arriving in a new country with no credit history, with strong local competition for a small pool of rental homes. So it’s important that you make sure your rental application is correct and stands out from the rest. More importantly, you need to ensure that it is completed thoroughly.  

Mistakes to avoid when applying for a rental property in Australia

Concealing financial stability

Many new arrivals are nervous to upload this sort of information or they feel it is too personal to show. Please be assured that the various platforms where you apply are very secure and monitored for any breaches in their security.

The estate agent needs to evaluate if you can afford the rent and what risk there might be in offering you the home. Will you be able to make the rental payments monthly? That is their big question. If you do not show your financial status, they cannot make a decision on how much risk you might be.

Let me tell you a story.

A British lady call me one day and said she had been in Australia for a month. She’s applied for 14 homes but never even been shortlisted. Immediately, I asked if I could see her rental application. 

To my surprise, she was showing her savings account that had only GBP6200 (around AUD$11 000). She had no job in Australia yet although there are very good prospects.  She had plenty of money but felt it was too personal to share her other accounts with higher balances.  Her argument was that she was telling the estate agent on duty at the Open Inspection that she was happy to pay three months’ rent upfront.

That’s a perfectly logical reason except that the agents at Open Inspections are not always the ones making the decision or processing the paperwork. So only what was in her application that was taken on face value.

From the estate agent’s view, her rent at $400.00/week would equate to $20,000. This would be too risky if she only had $11,000. No wonder she was not being shortlisted.

Not applying for rental soon enough

Australians love the saying “First in, best dressed”, which equates to “the first application in that is complete and looks good”. In the example of applications, the first application in is usually shortlisted – as long as it is completed correctly.

This is why all our clients have their rental applications ready before we even start inspecting homes.  We thoroughly check them to ensure every T is crossed and I is dotted. The rental application can take more than an hour to complete, your first one can take even longer.

Why do we do this?

In most other countries, you might have a few days to consider if you really like the house, or want some repairs done, but not in Australia. It can take 1 hour to maximum 3 days to have a rental application approved, so if you take your time, you will lose out.  

Think about it this way:

If agents list a rental property in Australia at the right price, they could have 20-30 people at an inspection and at least half of those will apply. The agent’s phone and email are inundated with enquiries. They do not want to take a week or more of this bombardment, so they move just as quickly as they can with processing the applications. Added to this, prospective tenants can apply for more than one rental at a time, so if the agents don’t hurry, they could lose a great prospective tenant too.

So be quick! Be very thorough and professional.

Not using the right rental application platforms

A rental property in Australia can use either of the following platforms: Ignite, Snug, 2Apply and many more. The application process is very automated. When you apply, you MUST apply on the platform the agent is working on. It is no good applying on Ignite/ if the agent uses Snug because the agent will not receive your Ignite application. They are not connected to it.  

The automation will send your application to the estate agent’s inbox, email your references and send you updates. But if you have applied on the wrong platform, none of that will work and your application will never be delivered to the agents, moreso completed.

Negotiating on the rental property price

Compared to other countries I have lived in, rental properties in Australia are very fair about the price they offer.  The market moves too quickly for them to not price a home correctly. Generally, you can not negotiate the rental price – well you could, but if another prospective tenant has offered the asking price, they will be shortlisted ahead of you so chances are you will miss out.

If anything, in this tough market, you might need to add a few $$s to get ahead of the competition.  When we are working with a client, this might only happen around 40% of the time because our local knowledge and assessment of the home might influence the price.

If we inspect a home on your behalf and we can see there is competition who might already have a dual income or are able to move in sooner than you, in this instance we could recommend that you offer a slightly higher price if the home is your first preference of all the homes on the market.

Another point I would like to raise here is the thought that just because you don’t like a feature of the home, doesn’t mean you should negotiate the price.  Let’s take a swimming pool as an example.  The luxury of a pool, especially in Melbourne, is seen as attractive and would demand a slightly higher price tag.  I had an Indian client once, who did not see the pool as an asset, more of a hindrance so he wanted to offer a lower price.  It does not work that way. Just because you don’t like a feature does not mean the price can come down.  

What if it’s overpriced?

Don’t get me wrong. If we are inspecting the home on your behalf and we feel it is overpriced, we will discuss it with the agent. Estate agents often don’t mind divulging additional information to us and we are realistic in what is negotiable and what is not.  It is not unusual for us to negotiate, for example, that an additional air conditioning unit is installed in order to meet the price being asked, or that pool maintenance is included.

The main point here is that you cannot usually negotiate; the market is just too competitive.

Including the wrong references

Where possible, you must supply Australian references. Why?

They will be in the timezone to respond quickly – an agent whose phone is ringing every hour with enquiries is not going to wait for your overseas reference to reply. Your application will go into the “too hard” basket.  After all, they have more options for their rental property than just your application.

Make sure your references respond, why?

As mentioned earlier, these are all automated systems.  When you insert your referee contact details in your application, they are emailed and asked to complete a reference questionnaire.  If your referee does not respond, your application will not arrive in the estate agent’s inbox as “complete” – remember “First in, best dressed”.

If you need help...

Applying for a rental property in Australia can be a daunting process, but it doesn’t have to be. By avoiding these five mistakes in your rental application, you’ll give yourself the best chance of securing the property you want. 

If you need help with your application or have any other questions about renting in Australia, contact us – we’re here to help!

Personnel Relocations simplifies the process of relocation to make it comfortable and hassle-free at affordable price. With excellent care and right guidance, Personnel Relocations can help you make the right start in Australia. 

We understand that every relocation is different and each one has different goals. To contribute to your settling in Australia, we have alliances with experts such as relocation mentors, life coaches, cross-culture trainers, baby equipment hire, business communication specialists, local and international furniture removals, interior designers, decluttering, unpacking and setting up trades services who can help with specific needs.

It is not unusual for Personnel Relocations to handle the full suite of relocation needs, all from just one call.


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