Part 1 - Finding the Rental Property that Suits You  

(Credits to: Daniel Butkovich, Domain.com.au )

The most common and convenient way to find a property to rent is to search online. You can search within specific suburbs and price points and browse properties for lease from multiple real estate agencies. Mobile apps make the search process even easier.

Within each search, users can specify the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and parking spaces they require, the type of property they’re interested in – such as a house, apartment or townhouse – and search for specific keywords such as “balcony”, “garden” or “art deco”. Users can then directly inquire with real estate agents about inspecting an advertised property.

It is also possible to visit a specific real estate agency’s office or website to discover any properties they currently have for lease, but they will only be able to inform you about properties managed by their agency, which represents a small portion of the market. Many real estate agencies also advertise properties for rent by displaying a sign in front of available properties.

 

Should you rent a house or an apartment?

The process of finding, inspecting and applying for a rental property is much the same regardless of whether you’re seeking a house or apartment, but deciding what type of property is best for you is a personal choice.

Generally speaking, a house is usually larger than an apartment, but often costlier to rent. Houses may also cost more to heat in winter and cool in summer.

On the other hand, some apartment buildings include gym facilities, a pool and a building manager who takes care of general maintenance, which can make an apartment more appealing. 

Apartments are likely to be more secure and may feature lock-up parking. The lack of privacy in an apartment may be an issue as you’ll likely be sharing walls and a roof with neighbours, which can be noisy at times.

If budget is an issue, renting an apartment may be more beneficial, especially if you’re searching within a popular area.

Another factor to consider is the provision of outdoor space, as most apartments will only feature a balcony rather than a backyard. If you rent a house, you may be responsible for keeping lawns and gardens tidy and maintained.

 

How do you know if a rental property is good value?

Searching for a rental online provides a good snapshot of the marketplace. Users can easily compare the types of properties on the market and the prices they can expect to pay.

You can use Domain’s Home Price Guide to search a property’s past rental history to see how rent has increased over time. If rent has increased significantly in a short period without any renovations since – for example, rising $100 a week over 12 months – the price may be overinflated.

 

How to inspect a rental property before applying

It is expected and advised that a prospective tenant inspect a property before deciding to apply and eventually sign a lease.

A property may have specific inspection times which are advertised online. Alternatively, the property manager or real estate agent will contact people who have inquired to let them know if a time has been scheduled to inspect the property.

These inspections will typically be a specific 15 or 30-minute block as specified by the real estate agent. You may be asked to register for an inspection online in advance.

In some instances, real estate agents may allow prospective tenants to inspect a property privately at a time that is suitable for them. You can contact the real estate agency responsible for leasing a property to find out if this option is available.

When attending a property inspection, it’s a good idea to arrive early as there may be many other parties interested in seeing the property and time in the property may be limited.

It is also advisable to keep the specified move-in date in mind in case this doesn’t align with your circumstances. You can ask the real estate agent if there is room to negotiate on this date.

 

Should you hire a renter’s agent or broker?

Unlike other countries, hiring a renter’s agent or broker to secure a suitable rental property on their behalf is very uncommon in Australia. These services are sometimes marketed under names such as “rental sourcing”, “renters’ advocate”, or “relocation service” but these are typically marketed to those relocating from another city without the time to search for a property in person.

 

Rental inspection checklist

It’s a good idea to take a checklist of features to look at it when inspecting a rental. These can include:

  • Parking  – Is it available, and if so, how big is the car space or garage? Is there somewhere to park a bicycle or motorbike?
  • Heating/Airconditioning – What rooms does it service? Does it operate on gas or electricity? Is the property insulated?
  • Natural light – Which way do the windows face and at what time of day is the light optimal?
  • Kitchen – What appliances does the home have and which ones will you need to bring? Is there enough bench space and storage?
  • Bathroom – Is there a bath tub or a only a shower? How many bathrooms are there?
  • Outdoor area – Is there a space to relax or entertain outside? Is it undercover or in the elements?
  • Furniture – Does the property come furnished or will you need to supply your own furniture? Will the furniture you have fit, or will you need to buy new items?
  • Condition – Is the property well maintained? Is it likely you will need to request repairs by the landlord?

 

(photo credit: Domain.com.au)