Tools and Research


How to beat the competition and secure your dream rental

January 15, 2018

How to beat the competition and secure your dream rental


In Philippines’ perpetually crowded rental market, the odds of securing any sort of home – let alone one that ticks all your boxes – can seem daunting.

Fast-increasing prices and the advent of so-called “rental bidding” further complicate the picture.

But there is reason to be optimistic. Despite perceptions that the rental market is somehow rigged – particularly in large cities such as Manila and Cebu – agents and advocates say that ordinary Filipino’s stand a good chance of renting in 2018.


If you understand what landlords are looking for, are willing to take care during the application process and choose the most appropriate month to search, you might be surprised by what you can secure.

1. Always write a cover letter

Few agents ask for one, but including a cover letter with your application can dramatically improve your chances of securing a rental.

Crucially, a one-page cover letter can find its way to the landlord, who is almost never present at inspections but has final say over who is granted the lease. Making a personal connection with the landlord through a cover letter can be very valuable.


2. Gather everything you’ll need – and then some

While some agents do not require additional documentation such as proof of ID and written references to be supplied at the time of application, prospective tenants should submit these documents anyway. Have it all ready, so if you are accepted, you can actually secure the property. If agents are chasing people for these documents before they’ve even signed the tenancy, alarm bells start to ring.

Providing ample references and other documents from the outset can also give you an advantage over less organised applicants.

You will have a better chance if you provide an If someone submits an application which has a covering letter, two current payslips, a personal or work reference and they’ve completed their 100 points of ID, than just a payslip from a month ago and a passport.

3. Apply online if you can

Scanning your hard-copy documents and completing an online application form may be irksome and time-consuming, but for agents it’s a godsend.

Most online application forms also include a section for additional comments, so make sure you use it. “The standard form agents actually ask applicants to explain why they like the property in question, and they find that really helpful. It’s the first thing agents usually go to now in the application because it gives them a better indication of who they are dealing with.


4. Think carefully before offering more than the listed price

The Philippines chronic shortage of inner-city housing has led to an increase in so-called “rental bidding”: offering more than the asking price in order to beat out the competition.

This strategy can be effective for those who can afford it, but this form of rental bidding can set a dangerous precedent. It’s pushing up prices not only for others but for yourself. By indicating a willingness to pay more than advertised, tenants may increase the likelihood of further rent rises in future, which could ultimately make the property unaffordable.

5. Be ready to pay your deposit

Having your application approved does not guarantee that the agent will hold the property for you.

Some agents have experienced where they have called a prospective tenant in the morning, tell them their application has been approved and ask for their deposit, and they say, ‘Oh, I’ll pay it later this afternoon’, the agent automatically go to the next application.

If they’re going to pay it later that afternoon, that tells the agent they’re waiting on the outcome of another application or they can’t afford my property.

Delaying payment of your deposit by even a few hours can be risky. Agents do not want to lose other applicants waiting for a deposit to be paid. Waiting a day for the deposit could mean my other applicants have moved on to other properties.

6. Don’t despair if you are young or haven’t rented before

Many prospective tenants assume that age and wealth trump all other considerations in the eyes of agents and landlords. But the truth is more nuanced.

Real estate agents and landlords are ultimately trying to assess risk when choosing applicants. The factors they are mainly considering are the ability to pay the rent, and the likelihood of damage occurring to the property.

A previous rental history is part of demonstrating that you represent a lower risk, but you can do this in other ways as well – most likely character references from employers or other people who can talk about things like your responsibility, cleanliness and so on.

Some agents have rented properties to people without employment who could demonstrate significant savings, and to others who had less money than their competition. It’s ultimately about whether the application stands out or not.

To help maximize your chances of landing your dream rental, visit . Your one-stop shop for anything real estate.


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