"Right now, the market is weighted more towards tenants than it is landlords. People struggle less against each other, and have a bit more power when they come to a lease agreement. However, even with less demand we're still as many as 20 people coming to viewings all the time."
So even if things are easier for tenants, it's still objectively difficult. Here, Simone gives her tips for tenants trying to secure a North Shore rental property.
"Getting a lease isn't just living in a home," Simone says. "You're entering a working relationship with either a landlord or a property manager for upwards of a year – that's a relationship that has to get off on the right foot."
"That means treating a rental application like a job interview. Show up on time for meetings or viewings. Be well presented. Talk to the property manager or landlord when you come in – first impressions are everything in this process, so if you don't say hello you're not starting well."
"You also need to bring the right attitude. If the first meeting goes sour, neither party is going to want to work together for a year or more."
Good references won't always be enough. As Simone points out, some of the best rental applications take things a step further with the information they provide.
"An application tells me who you are as a tenant, not who you are as a person."
"Genuine references, pay slips, copies of photo ID, every question on an application answered in full – these are a must for any applicant. But an application tells me who you are as a tenant, not who you are as a person. The ones that go the extra mile with their application are often the ones we end up working with."
"Things like a little blurb about themselves, saying who they are. This adds a lot of personality to paperwork that otherwise will look the same as everyone else's. It can be simple things, who your family is, what you like doing on the weekend, preferred hobbies – that sort of thing. It really helps people stand out."
In most cases, this advice should go without saying – however, Simone says that not every applicant brings their best self to a viewing.
"95 per cent of tenants are so fabulous – people we really don't want to lose, even if they don't get the specific home they're viewing. Them being so excellent is what makes that other 5 per cent stand out so much."
"I'd love it if people didn't smoke on the property 30 seconds before they came in, or came in straight from the bar as some people have done. Even when you secure a lease, it's important to remember that this is someone else's home too – you absolutely have to respect the space and the people working in it."
Finally, Simone wants tenants to be absolutely sure they want a home before they commit to an application.
"More than anything, I want people to be happy with the homes they live in. When a market is competitive, people can apply for everything they see, and then end up cancelling on applications when they realise something isn't what they wanted."
"Be yourself, and don't rush into anything. But if you do say you want the home, make sure you follow through!"
For more advice on being a tenant or using property management, talk to the team at Ray White Takapuna.