Tips for Moving into Your First Rental Property

MADELEINE McCarty knows just how confusing and, sometimes challenging, moving houses can be. So here are some tips to make that move easier. 

Photo: Uthor via Flickr

1. First, decide: do you want to move in to a place already being rented out by someone else? Or do you want to move into somewhere new with friends?

If you want to rent a property with your friends, the best thing to do is start by looking on different real estate websites like RealEstate.com.auDomain or Ray White.

If you’re looking to move in with in people you don’t know (a.k.a friends you just haven’t met yet), have a look at university notice boards or on Gumtree.

 2. Decide how much you are willing to pay per month.

The next thing you need to do is decide the price range for the places you are looking at. Ask yourself, “Will I be able to comfortably afford the rent, plus bills and other necessities each month?”

 3. Decide on your location

This will depend on where your place of work or study is, if you need public transport or if there is parking space available if you have a car.

 3.  Arrange an inspection

If you’re using Gumtree, set up a time to look at the property by either texting, calling or instant messaging the person who has put up the ad. Try to find a time that works for both of you and don’t rush it. You never know how many questions you might have.

If you are going through a real estate agency, then the property probably has a set time when it’s available for inspection, but you can always call your agent and ask them to show you around.

4.  Things to look out for at an inspection:

For starters, have a look at whether the property  has all the basic amenities and make sure everything is in working order before you commit to anything.

Secondly, have a look at the state of the place especially if you’re moving in with people you don’t know. Ask yourself, does it uphold an adequate state of cleanliness? Could I see myself living here long term?’ A stay of six months to a year is a typical length of time you have to stay in a property, unless it says in the contract that it’s a short-term lease.

5.  Sign an expression of interest form or let the other tenants know your intentions

If you’re going to an inspection held by a real estate agency and decide you’re interested in the property, take an expression of interest form on your way out. Once you fill this in, send it back to the real estate agency by the due date and you are in with a chance of securing the property.

If you’re looking to move in with people, let the person who is showing you around the property know you’re interested in moving in. They’ll then contact you if they think you’re a good fit for their household.

6.  Be prepared not to get the first place you fall in love with

The housing market can be competitive at times, not only when you are buying, but when you’re renting too. In highly sought after areas, like the city, you could be looking for a while. Don’t lose heart though and consider expanding your options until you find a place. That might mean looking at places just outside the area you want or compromising on the size.

7.   Once you secure a place…

Before you move into your new abode, double check that everything is as it should be. Take a few photos before you start moving your stuff in. It’ll be much easier to get your bond (security deposit) back when you move out if you can show that the property is in the same condition it was when you moved in.

When you are sure that this is the place for you, you can sign the lease, pay the bond (usually a month’s rent) and then start paying rent.

Happy house hunting!

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