We all have a first time, don’t we? It doesn’t matter what it is, but there is a first time; we nervously move forward a little unsure if what we are doing is right, the way it’s done or if we are even on the right track.

Well, renting your first home is no different, or perhaps it has been so long since you last rented that you have forgotten the process for applying.

Before I start to explain the process its worth understanding that rentals can move very quickly, its not unusual for properties to turn over in a day or two, so be ready to make your decision quickly and be aware of your obligations at your current accommodation – do you need to give 28 days’ notice, or is it only 14 days? Have you actually given notice as yet? It’s imperative to know these timelines.

Please bear in mind, some agencies may operate slightly differently, but in essence the order of events should be the same.

First, the letting process:

The first thing, and this may seem odd to point out, is to view the property. Numerous people these days, due to potential high demand at opens, will put in applications ahead of sighting the property. However, we will not process any applications until the property has been seen by the applicant/s.

Assuming you like what you see, then it’s time to submit an application. Most often it is preferred to submit this via 1Form (the online provider we use for electronic lodgement of applications), if you have attended an inspection by Christopher Russell Real Estate, and you had registered as we strongly recommend, you will have received notification following your inspection of the application procedure and a link to the easy to follow online form.

It is of great help to us if you notify any referees in advance. We don’t want to “blind side” employers etc. with our phone calls and it makes it a lot quicker to get a response to you if the referees are compliant with our questioning, which we find is always the case if they just have a little “heads up”. Also be sure to double check you have covered the 100 point check, this will save us coming back to you for more information and further slowing the process.

Some properties can be very popular, so if you are genuinely interested in renting the property do not hesitate – rentals can turnover in hours, let alone days.

Things that need to be considered when making an application:

You can always offer less than the advertised price, and you can always offer more; seems odd to offer more? It shouldn’t; if there are half a dozen people at an open house and you want to get a “step up” on any other applicants make sure you let the agent know you can pay more if needed or put a higher price on your application. Another important consideration is the move-in date – if someone puts in an application to move-in straight away, and the property is vacant, and your application states that you don’t want to occupy the property for another 3 or four weeks, then there is a good chance your application will not be accepted ahead of applicants who can move-in sooner. I’m sure you can appreciate the cost of time.

Once you have submitted your application, wait to hear from your property manager, they should let you know via email what stage of the process the application is at. Some applications will require more information and, if this is the case, you will be notified. Of course, if you are unsure, you can always email us to be sure we have, in fact, received the application, and we should be able to give you a time frame in order to get a feel for how long you will have to wait. Personally, I don’t mess around. If I get a good application I go straight to the landlord so that I can give potential tenants an answer within hours!

So let’s assume your application is successful; what then? You will be notified by us usually via the phone, unless there is some reason we can’t get hold of you. We will follow this up with an email formally offering you the property. This email will give you information on paying the deposit, organising the bond, and a time to sign leases and hand over keys.

Once you receive this email the first step, and most important, is to pay the deposit. This is usually the first month’s rent. Until the deposit is paid the property is still “on the market” and any other applications will be put to the landlord. Once you have made the deposit (preferably electronically) forward a receipt to your property manager.

It’s all that simple! You are now well on your way to moving into your new home. It would now be a good idea to download or print off a checklist to assist with your relocation (easily found with a Google search)..

Time to get the keys:

So you are ready to start your new rental, and you’re booked in to collect the keys from the agent. What you will need to do, if these items have not been addressed already, is bring the bond with you; this needs to be in the form of a bank cheque or a money order and made payable to the RTBA, remember, it’s your money, not the landlord’s nor the agent’s and it is held in trust for you by the RTBA.

Also, make sure that all people on the lease attend the meeting, especially if leases are still to be signed. Keys will not be handed out unless deposits have been paid, leases signed, and the bond cheque have all been received.

You will also be given the Condition Report and a bunch of other useful information. While I know the excitement of the pending move often will over shadow the process of picking up the keys, it is imperative to pay attention to any information you are given by the Property Manager at the time, it’s very likely there will be important things in relation to your tenancy.

So that’s it, very simple really. And remember; if in doubt of anything, be sure to ask questions. There is no silly questions, only silly answers!

Enjoy your new home.