– Chihuahua better than Irish Wolf Hound when house hunting

MUCH is made of the low level of rental vacancies in Melbourne, where rapid development is boosting supply, but is still being outstripped by demand.
It’s indeed a squeeze, according Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) CEO Gill King.
And it extends far beyond the outer rim of the capital’s metropolitan area.
In regional Victoria, the rental market tightened even further in March, with vacancy rates at 1.8 per cent, lower than Melbourne’s 2.1 per cent and well below the three per cent regarded as healthy.
It’s a situation that’s being reflected in Wonthaggi, according to Phil Hanley of Alex Scott and Staff.
In order to be fair and efficient about it, his firm is offering ‘open for inspection’ times for would-be renters to come along and see the properties they have for rent, although he admitted there were precious few available.
“I’ve just spoken to our rental team and they say we have three properties available for rent at the moment and when we do have our open times, we’re getting between six and a dozen groups through,” Mr Hanley said.
“I’d say our vacancy rate would be lower than that 1.8 per cent average here in Wonthaggi, sub-1 per cent I’d say. Unfortunately due to the delays with the subdivisions, there’s a lot of demand for existing properties that come up for sale.”
As evidence of that, Mr Hanley said he sold a home in south Wonthaggi in the past few weeks to someone who was driving past when he was first hammering in the sign.
“They asked if they could take a look and then came into the office and made an offer. That’s how it’s going around here at the moment.”
It’s the same across all regional areas within striking distance of Melbourne.
Many first-time homebuyers, according to the REIV, buoyed by the Victorian Government incentives implemented in July last year, are competing with investors for properties that might otherwise be available for rent.
They’re buying, where possible, and those properties are coming off the rent roll.
With a lack of available stock, agents are receiving multiple applications for the properties they have available and those seeking rental accommodation need to present themselves in the best possible light by being organised and having no points of objection, says the REIV.
Here are a few steps they recommend:
• Property size: The agent will be looking to place tenants that are suitable for the property, i.e., to match individuals and couples to smaller properties and larger families to more spacious abodes. Prospective tenants should prepare their short list with this in mind.
• Application form: Incomplete or incorrect forms will likely mean that the application does not even reach the landlord for consideration. Referees are important in a tight market and should be spoken to before submitting the form.
• Pets: Owners of pets are more likely to find a new home if a former landlord will vouch for the animal, reassuring prospective new landlords that there won’t be a greater risk of damage. Pet owners should divulge the breed, as landlords might look more favourably on a Chihuahua than an Irish Wolf Hound.
• Open inspection: Register and attend the open inspection. It’s not a fashion parade, and those inspecting properties don’t need to win the best-dressed award. However, those who present as other than clean or neat might find more difficulty in securing the property they seek.
“Following these steps will not guarantee securing a tenancy, but will increase chances of being chosen,” said REIV CEO Gil King.