The easiest way to find properties to rent is via the Internet or by visiting your local real estate agency. The property manager at your local real estate agency will be happy to provide you with a list of available vacancies and information about how to apply to lease a house or apartment/unit.
A First National Real Estate property manager can also add you to a tenants’ database so you will receive updates by email or text message. That way you’ll be first to know when your ideal rental property becomes available.
Australia has major websites that display most, but not all, rental vacancies. Some major websites are www.squiiz.com.au
Some rental properties advertise ‘open for inspection’ times. There’s no need to make an appointment when this is the case. Just turn up at the advertised time and place.
Alternatively, if you would prefer to see the property sooner, telephone the property manager and ask if you can inspect the property by private appointment.
Make sure to take your photo identification with you as you may be asked to register your details (for security purposes) before entering the rental property.
A professional agent will never give you keys to inspect a property without being accompanied.
There are a number of scams that have been reported to Australian police whereby non-real estate industry websites such as www.gumtree.com.au
advertise the same property as an agent may be advertising on their website, but for a much lower price. Typically, the contact on such websites will not be available to show you the property but will instead ask you to send a cash deposit in return for the key to the property. Unfortunately, once the cash has been sent the key never arrives. A professional real estate agency will always make an appointment to show you the property or schedule an open for inspection.
From an investment perspective, a rental property is best when it is located close to transport and centres of employment. Typically, this means properties within a 10 km radius of town centres of CBDs will perform better over time.
Tenants like the same fundamentals in a home that you do so look for bright and sunny aspects, neutral colour schemes, good security, parking, storage, and modern conveniences like air-conditioning and dishwashers.
Ideally, your goal should be to buy a property that will deliver maximum capital growth over time. This depends on the three laws of real estate; position, position, position. Also, talk to your mortgage broker about the areas that banks are happier to finance because this generally provides a good guide to areas of lower risk.
Likewise, rental yields differ from area to area, so do your homework. You should be aiming to invest for the medium to long-term and will need solid cash flow to maintain your mortgage repayments.
Think about the demographics of the area in which you want to invest as well. If you’re buying a property near a university, more bedrooms are likely to be more popular with students than a big garden. By contrast, a big garden and a pool will be far more appealing to tenants in a family area.
When it comes to buying an apartment in a Strata Title or Company Title building, make sure you obtain a report on the building’s finances and management from the company that manages the building. This could reveal whether there is any major upcoming maintenance on lifts or pools, or whether there are major future expenses such as roof replacement or fire safety compliance work. With houses, conduct a building and pest inspection before buying.
Above all, focus on buying with your head and not your heart. Many investors look to buy something they would be happy living in but this can lead to mistakes. Stick to the principle of buying a quality property in a good location with all the features that will keep your property rented. That way, when you come to sell, another savvy investor will be prepared to pay a good price for your property.
There are plenty of things that can make a big difference to how happy you’ll be with a rental property. First National Real Estate suggests you pay attention to the following features:
Storage. Built-in wardrobes are an extremely handy feature that saves you the financial outlay on furniture that you may not need in your next rental property.
Security. Not all rental properties have deadlocks on doors or alarm systems and it isn’t necessarily a legal requirement that they do. Make sure the property you inspect has security that satisfies you, as the landlord may not respond to requests for an upgrade after you move in.
Walls and carpets. Make sure you check the condition of all walls and carpets. While minor cracks shouldn’t concern you, make sure all cracks, scuffs, picture-hanging hooks and marks are noted on the Condition Report. If the agent doesn’t note them down, you have a short period of time - after you move in - to correct the record and it is vital that you do. Likewise, all marks on carpet should be clearly noted.
Dampness and mould. When inspecting the property, look out for signs of mould at the base or tops of walls and in corners. This could indicate rising damp, a leaking roof, or ventilation problems.
Smoke alarms. All rental properties in Australia must be fitted with a working smoke alarm.
Kitchen. Check the kitchen for cleanliness, built-up grease inside cupboards and on tops of cupboards. Look for signs of excrement that could indicate the presence of mice or rats. If there is a dishwasher, check that it is working and that the stove and oven is also in working order (and clean). If there is an exhaust fan, check that it works too. A good-sized pantry can be a very handy feature. Do the taps leak? Dripping taps can dramatically increase your water bill.
Bathroom. Test the taps and listen for any strange sounds that would suggest there could be a problem with plumbing. How long does it take for hot water to reach the shower? Is there a bath? Are there any leaks under the sink and does any rusty water come out when you turn the tap on? This could mean the hot water service is getting old, less efficient, and could be expensive to run. Does the toilet flush properly and fill in a reasonable amount of time?
Pool. As great as a pool can be for a family or a keen swimmer, maintaining a pool requires some commitment and expense. Talk to the property manager about the cost of pool chemicals such as chlorine, especially if you’ve never managed a pool before. Pools need topping up, cleaning, chemicals to keep them in balance, and most importantly, security fencing. Make sure the pool has safety fencing and a gate that swings shut and latches automatically.
Exterior. With houses, check for cobwebs and dust as well as the condition of guttering. Is there safe, well lit access at night time? Is the garden well maintained and do you have the time and ability to keep it well maintained?
Rental property checklist: -
1. Storage. Does the property have built-in wardrobes or other handy storage features?
2. Security. Does the property have deadlocks, an alarm system or window bars?
3. Walls and carpets. Are the walls and carpets in satisfactory condition?
4. Dampness and mould. Does the property show signs of moisture problems?
5. Smoke alarms. Does the property have a working smoke alarm?
6. Kitchen. Does the property have modern conveniences and does the stove and oven work?
7. Bathroom. Is this bathroom in a good state of cleanliness and is the hot water service delivering strong, hot water?
8. Pool. Have you considered the running costs and are you confident you can keep the water balanced?
9. Exterior. Is there safe, well lit access at night time? Is the garden well maintained and do you have the time and ability to keep it well maintained?