Choosing a rental property can be difficult proposition. The chances are you will have plenty of options to choose from but only a select few which seem to offer everything you’re looking for.
While it can take some time, it’s a good idea to be picky and hold out for the elements that are non-negotiables for you. Look for these eight must-haves in every property you view to help make sure you choose a rental property that ticks all the boxes.
When viewing a rental, consider its location first and foremost. Work out how long your commute to work would take, and whether you’re close enough to the amenities you care about like cafes, restaurants, parks and transport links. Take a moment to imagine what your life would be like in the area, and whether another location would be better suited to the lifestyle you desire.
If a property is unclean, untidy or poorly presented, it’s a sign that the landlord or property manager aren’t caring for it. This should be seen as a red flag, suggesting that they won’t maintain it during your tenancy and that you should look elsewhere.
Every rental property should be safe and secure. At a minimum, there should be working locks on all exterior doors, and all windows and doors should close properly. Features like alarms systems and security gates are a positive sign, and in apartment blocks intercom access is a no-brainer for peace of mind security.
- Heating and cooling
Most locations in Australia need heating in winter and cooling in summer, or both. When you inspect a rental property, consider whether there is adequate heating and cooling installed for the local climate (If there isn’t you may have to pay for it yourself). Also see if there are any regular cross-breezes that will mean you don’t have to have the AC blasting all summer and in the process help keep utility costs down.
- Size and Space
Before you view a single rental property you should think about how many rooms you need and how large they need to be. If you’ve already got furniture keep it in mind when viewing properties – don’t be afraid to get a tape measure out to check if it’ll fit.
- Outdoor area
Consider what you want from your outdoor space and whether you’re happy with a small balcony or if you’d prefer a larger grassed area or patio. If you’ve got a pet think about how much room they need to run around and do their business. Renters are increasingly looking for outdoor space to maximise the lifestyle points of the property they lease, so it follows that landlords will well and truly have alfresco areas on their radar.
- Car parking
If you’ve got a car or plan on buying one soon, it’s important that you understand the car parking situation at your rental. If there’s street parking only and a permit is required, ask the real estate agent if the property comes with a permit, and if it doesn’t check with the local council to see if you can get one. Car parking is like gold in CBD areas, but more expensive. Expect to pay a little bit more for a property with parking and even more if it’s security parking.
Check for storage at viewings and keep all your bits and pieces in mind when you do. Does the property have enough room to store all your possessions? Is there a shed out the back for tools and outdoor equipment? A lack of storage can be an absolute nightmare and without it you may constantly feel disorganised and cluttered, so even though it’s not super glamorous, it is an extremely important consideration.
Choosing a rental can be challenging, but if you take a little care when selecting and viewing properties you could end up with a gem. Start your search the right way on Australia’s newest property website Homes.com.au.