6 things to consider when looking for a rental property
Before beginning your search for a rental property, it is essential to identify what you are looking for and write it down in a brief. You can get lost in choice unless you set some clear parameters. Of course, you can change your mind, but knowing what matters most to you from the outset will allow you to start your journey with your best foot forward.
In this blog, our property managers outline six critical considerations when looking for a rental property.
Create a clear map of ‘preferred’ and ‘potential’ suburbs to establish your search area. Location equals lifestyle, so look at factors such as transport, access to schools, facilities, amenities, and demographics. You can live in an extraordinary house, but the area may not match your lifestyle or needs.
For help choosing one suburb over another, search and read Sitchu’s suburb guides. Sitchu is a great online tool that can help you match your brief with a neighbourhood. Once you have found a property you like, do a drive-by to make sure you are happy with the area before booking an inspection.
Open for inspections
Attend open for inspections in-person — viewing a property ensures there are no surprises and allows you to ask the agent any questions you may have. Inspect the entire building and its facilities, including common areas like the car park, recreational facilities, lifts, etc.
Make sure you are on time for viewings — this will put you in good favour with leasing agents and property managers, who often have multiple viewings in a day and have to stick to a tight schedule.
If you find a property you love be ready to put in your application straight after you’ve inspected it, particularly if market conditions are competitive. To learn more read our tips on securing a rental in a tight market.
List your requirements such as type of dwelling, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, access to a garden or balcony, parking spaces, availability of heating and cooling etc. When inspecting a property pay particular attention to the size of the rooms - take a tape measure with you to determine if your furniture will fit.
Bear in mind that older properties tend to have low ceilings, defined spaces (as opposed to open-plan layouts), narrow garages, and tilt garage doors that can take up more space. Keep an eye out for security features on windows and doors and in common areas.
Remember that even if your wish list of requirements isn’t realised, there are plenty of creative ways to style your rental to make it feel more like your own home.
Areas of compromise
While knowing your requirements is incredibly important, it is also essential to keep an open mind. Depending on market conditions and the availability of stock, you may find that your list of requirements is simply not achievable in reality.
Take a look at your wish list and work out which elements you can categorise as must-haves as opposed to nice-to-haves. This could include location, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, parking, yard size or a home’s Feng Shui. It’s also worth keeping the bigger picture in mind – aspects like a property’s location and the lifestyle it provides, for example, may prove more beneficial in the long run than curb appeal or a bathtub.
Establish what you can afford and what you would ideally like to spend. Don’t forget to factor in some of the more hidden costs of living in the property – such as transport to and from work if the commute will be long or heating or cooling costs if it’s a large property - when looking at potential homes too.
Do the maths to make sure your income will allow you to comfortably pay the rent while at the same time being able to enjoy the lifestyle you want. You don’t want to max out your budget and then end up not being able to afford a holiday, or find yourself in financial distress in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
Look for a rental property managed by a professional property management company, which employs property managers to act as conduits between tenants and landlords.
As experts in their field, property managers are responsible for handling inspections, leases, rent payments, legalities, and day-to-day requests. This helps ensure a mutually positive experience for renters and owners alike.
Before signing up to a lease do your due diligence by researching the property management company online and checking their reviews (if they have them) to see how they do business and what clients say about them.
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