It pays to be prepared for a property viewing in Australia given the current market we are in. However, it’s not always easy to know what to look for and what questions to ask.
If you’ve been to a property viewing before, you’ll understand how important it is to get a sense of how well a house will fit your needs. Does it have enough bedrooms? Is the kitchen big enough? Is a car space included, or will you need to park on the street?
Create a list of questions you can ask the real estate agent and you’ll be on your way to knowing if it’s the right house for you.
Keep these things in mind at your next property viewing:
Take a drive around the neighbourhood
If you have some time, take a drive around the area before or after your viewing. This could be your new neighbourhood! This will give you an idea of how far public transport is, whether there are any interesting local amenities/cafes, and give you a feel for what it’d be like to live in this suburb. A
Punctuality is key
Rental properties are in very high demand across Australia at the moment. The current vacancy rate is below 1%, meaning some properties will have many people arriving to view them. Remember that most agents work on a tight schedule with the rental viewing and will typically limit viewings to 10-15 minutes. Try your best to arrive on time, and if you’re going to be late try let them know in advance.
What’s the area like?
Is the rental property next to a pub or bar that might become rowdy in the evening? Can you walk to the shops to grab some milk, or would you have to drive? Are there bus stops or a train station nearby? Are you underneath a flight path?
Most importantly, does it feel like you could make it your home? Google’s Street View feature is a great way to explore the suburb.
Is the rental property within your budget?
Try to look at properties that fit within your price range. You might spot a property online that’s outside your budget but fits all other requirements. But if you don’t have any flexibility on what you can afford, this might lead to disappointment. Understanding what you can reasonably afford to spend on rent each week will help you narrow your search for homes that fall within your budget.
Find out exactly what’s included in the home
If the rental you’re looking at is either furnished or part-furnished, check to see exactly what will be in the home once you move in. Remember that a lot of what you see on the day of the property viewing may belong to the existing tenants. This isn’t just limited to furniture either. Ask whether any whitegoods will be left in place (an included washing machine or fridge can save you some money!) If you’d rather bring your own furniture to a furnished house, ask the property manager if it’s okay to swap them over. They may need to check if the landlord’s happy to find storage or sell their existing furniture.
What’s the parking situation like?
Parking is always going to be a biggie for most renters, so now’s the time to suss it out. If street parking’s the only option, find out if you’d need to get a permit from the local council and how much it’d likely cost. Would you be able to apply for more than one permit? It’s also worth getting a sense of how busy the street is in case you’d need to end up parking some distance away. If the home comes with allocated parking – brilliant. Check how many spaces you’ll get.
Think about the space
An empty rental will always look more spacious than a fully furnished property with current tenants still living there, so consider whether there’s enough room for what you need.
Are there built-in wardrobes in the bedrooms, or would you need to have space for a wardrobe in each room? Is the cupboard space enough to fit all your kitchen pots and pans? Would your dining table, couch and bed all fit comfortably? You can always bring a tape measure with you to check if your furniture would fit comfortably in each room.
Top things to look for and ask at a property viewing:
- How long is the lease agreement?
- Are the hot water system and stove gas or electric?
- Are there blinds or curtains? If so, are they in good condition?
- Is the local traffic or other surrounding noise an issue?
- Are the windows and door locks adequate for your safety and security?
- Is there an existing internet connection?
- Do you get good mobile reception at the property?
- Are fences and gates in good working order/suitable for pets?
- Is the property pet-friendly?
- Is water included in the rent?
- Are there enough power points?
- What sort of storage space is available?
- What are the neighbours like?
- Who will be responsible for looking after the gardens/lawns?
- Are there any visible repairs needed?
What happens if repairs are needed?
Your lessor or property manager is responsible for repairs and ensuring the property is fit to live in. If you see that the rental needs repairs, ask the property manager whether they will be done before you move in. If you end up renting the property, note any repairs the home needs when you complete your property condition report. Remember, making any requests for repairs in writing is a good idea.
What happens next?
Are you happy with what you’ve seen? If you wish to rent the property, you can submit a rental application. Bring a copy of the agent’s preferred application form to the rental inspection and any documents you need for that application. This way, you can apply immediately.
Rent.com.au is Australia's largest company dedicated to renters and is owned and operated by ASX-listed Rent.com.au Limited (RNT:ASX). For over 15 years, Rent.com.au has exclusively focused on making renters' lives easier by making it easier to find a property, secure it, move in and pay rent.