First impression counts for tenants

By Julia Proverbs

Looking for somewhere to rent? Found the perfect place? Chances are you're not the only one who has their eye on it.

Trade Me Property figures for Tauranga show an increase in demand, but a static supply. In short, fewer rental properties to go around. To secure your dream residence, you're going to have to stand out from the crowd.

The Bay of Plenty Times Weekend asked Tauranga property managers how would-be tenants could put their best foot forward.

1 First things first Making a good first impression is crucial. ''Your appearance and whole personality is really important,'' says LJ Hooker senior property manager Tess Johnson. ''If you get someone who doesn't look good, who hasn't bothered to wear shoes and doesn't smell good, you're not going to want to rent to them. ''If they haven't bothered to tidy themselves up, you wonder if they would be bothered to look after a house.'' Treat it as you would a job interview, advises Harcourts property manager Margaret Hampshire. ''Being tidy and presentable always helps.'' Juli Tolley, of Quinovic Tauranga, takes it a step further. ''Wash your car,'' she says.

2 Use your manners Show up on time and be patient and friendly if you have to wait, says Tolley.

''Attitude counts and being nice will always separate you from those that are abrupt and rude,'' she says. ' ' Why does this matter? ' ' When a tenancy agreement i s signed a business relationship i s created between a l andlord and a tenant and you generally want i t to be a pleasant association.'' I f you have children, don't l et them run around the property during a viewing, she adds. Remove your footwear or ask the property manager i f shoes are okay, says Rent Pro principal Andrew Glover.

3 Communicate well If you are running late, let the property manager know, says Glover. ''Contacting the property manager goes a long way.'' Have credit on your phone so that you are easy to get hold of, advises Tolley. ''It is unfortunate that some people miss out simply because they can't be reached.''

4 Be prepared Be thorough with application forms, ensuring they are legible and include all relevant contact details, says Hampshire. ''If we don't get good contact details we can't do checks on them. ''If it's a five make it clear it's a five. When you're busy and you get a lot of applicants that could be the difference.'' Written references, especially if they are on letterhead from another property manager, can also be useful. Make sure your references are correct and let your referees know to expect a call from a property manager, says Glover. Have copies of your photo ID and references, including phone numbers, with you to speed up the application process, says Tolley. If you are a first-time renter, get character references from, for example, your employer or church, recommends Johnson. 

5 Be honest ''If they have had a hiccup in the past, letting the manager know the situation up front is important,'' says Glover. ''If you have an issue with credit or tribunal and are applying for a property be up front about it . . . it is far better to be honest and up front than to hide it and hope no one does their homework,'' reiterates Tolley. A lot of people don't realise that tribunal orders are on public record, she says. Tolley also recommends checking your credit report to make sure it's accurate. ''Sometimes errors do happen and you may not know that you have something derogatory on it.''

6 Create a good track record ''Establish a history of paying your rent and bills on time,'' says Tolley. ''And always communicate openly and in a timely manner with your current landlord or debtors over any issues or concerns to try to work toward positive resolutions. People underrate the value of establishing a reputation of being a good communicator.''

- Bay of Plenty Times

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