A Step-by-step Guide to Finding a Rental Home Quickly and Easily (Part 1)

by Chris Lang on October 19, 2011

How to find a rental property

Did you know that on average a person spends 6 weeks to find a rental home? Seems like a very long time, doesn’t it. Just think – 6 weeks of looking, searching the internet, considering different properties, going to inspections, applying, being turned down, etc. Yes, that IS a lot of hassle. But it doesn’t have to be – if you do it the smart way.

I have my own system that I use to look for rental homes, and it has never let me down. Last time I tested this system was very recently (to help one of my friends find a rental), and it was in a tight rental market – but still after only 2 weeks (66% quicker than average!) I have found the perfect rental. It was exactly what I was looking for, the rent was reasonable, the house in a very good condition, great location, and my friend got selected as a tenant from the rest of the applicants.

This system is so simple that anyone can use it. All I needed was a computer with internet access, a sheet of paper, a pen, and a telephone.

Here is a step-by-step explanation of how I did it. Before we dive in, one warning – some steps may seem obvious to you, but keep on reading and you won’t be disappointed.

Steps to find a rental property quickly and easily.

Step 1. Define the area.

When you are just beginning to look for a rental, the first thing you have to do is define the area where you want to live. This area would ideally include one or two pockets in a particular suburb (not the whole suburb). However, nothing stops you from including the whole suburb in your search – you will just have more data to process.

In my case I wanted a rental home that will be within walking distance to a major shopping center and public transport, so that my friend won’t need a car to get around. I opened the suburb map on Google Maps – simply by visiting this link and typing the name of the suburb in the search box. On the suburb map I noted down the clusters of streets that were within walking distance from the shopping center and train station. You can also measure the time it takes to get from one place to another by foot or by car – click “Get Directions” and simply enter two streets’ names, choose “Walking” or “By car” and you will get the trip time, along with directions.

Step 2. Decide on the type of property and the rent

Everyone needs a different type of property at a different stage of life. A younger couple may prefer a 1-2 bedroom apartment, a growing family – a house with several bedrooms or a townhouse, retirees often are interested in a unit with a small low-maintenance courtyard.

You need to decide how many bedrooms you require, which types of properties are for you and which are not – the more precise you are about this, the better your chances are of finding the property you will be happy with.

Last but not the least – you need to decide what is the highest rent you are willing to pay, obviously because there is a limit to what you can afford, and you’ll need to enter the maximum price figure as one of the search parameters.

Step 3. Run a search.

There are 2 main ways to look for rental properties – online and offline. I prefer the online search because it is quick, efficient, cheap, and you get all the information you need within seconds. Online search doesn’t involve visiting real estate agencies in person and getting their rental lists, it doesn’t involve buying newspapers and searching their real estate pages, none of those time-and-money-wasting activities are needed.

Speaking about online search – there are also many ways to do it, since there are many websites that list properties for rent. But I found that using just one is enough. I may have missed some rental properties because I didn’t look at all the websites out there – but I also saved a lot of time and still was able to find the best house quickly.

The website I used was (no wonder!) www.realestate.com.au.

I simply ran a search and specified the suburb, property type, the number of bedrooms I want, and the top price I can pay. The lowest price doesn’t matter – you can leave “Any” in the search box. Below is an example of what such search looks like.

realestate-com-au property for rent

All the properties that are currently advertised for rent that fit your criteria will appear on the webpage, in the following manner:

realestate-com-au property for rent

To be continued – this, of course is not the end of your step-by-step guide to renting a property – part 2 will be published soon, stay tuned.

What ideas do you have on finding a rental home?

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Gary Drewry October 24, 2011 at 3:01 pm

With nowadays technologies it is better to run a search over internet, because it is definitely quicker and easier. The quicker you do the more money and time you save.

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