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7 factors to consider when looking for a rental property

Before starting your search for a rental property, it is essential to identify what you are looking for in your new home in terms of location, features and pricing, along with the areas you are prepared to compromise on. Knowing what matters most to you helps ensure you are putting your best foot forward from the outset.

To make your search as effective and efficient as possible, we’ve outlined our top 7 factors to consider when looking for a rental property.

1. Establish your preferred location

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.

2. Draw up a list of requirements

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.

3. Know your areas of compromise

While knowing your requirements is incredibly important, it is also essential to keep an open mind. Depending on market conditions and availability of stock, you may find that your list of requirements is simply not achievable.

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 overall than kerb appeal or a bathtub!

4. Work out what you can afford

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 or heating or cooling costs - 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 then end up not being able to afford a holiday or end up in financial distress in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

5. Attend inspections in person

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 must stick to a tight schedule.

6. Check the property is professionally managed

Look for a rental property managed by a real estate agency or reputable rental management company, who employ professional 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 their experiences.

7. Make sure you are correctly informed

Check the rules in your state as to the type of information you must be made aware of before entering into a rental agreement. Depending on a property’s location, the landlord or agent may be obliged to tell you if the property:

  • Is going to be sold or repossessed
  • Has been the scene of a serious violent crime
  • Has been affected by flooding or bushfire
  • Is listed on the loose-fill asbestos insulation register

For help and advice on finding a rental property visit our renting page or speak to your local Hockingstuart agent today. Search our wide range of high quality apartments and homes currently for lease.

Read more blog articles on renting.