Finding the right rental for your family

Today, many families are renting for longer periods of time while that first-home deposit gradually builds up. Different families will have different priorities when it comes to choosing (and sticking with) a rental property - but sometimes, you just have to ‘up sticks’ and move.

The rental searching process can be strenuous - especially when you’re already juggling work, kids and life in general - so it’s normal to feel a bit anxious. Fortunately, you can streamline the whole process.

This is your guide to finding a home that suits the whole family as well as your budget, so you can keep saving for that deposit. 

Getting organised shouldn’t mean getting busier

The New Zealand rental market can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to pour hours into the search if you keep strict criteria on the home you’re looking for. 

With the whole family to keep happy, there are a fair number of prerequisites. Some you should consider are:

  • Work. Is the rental within a reasonable distance to your work?
  • School. What catchment zone is the school in and is there an easy way for the kids to get there?
  • Shops. Are there grocery stores (and others) nearby and easily accessible?
  • Safety. Is the community in a generally safe area?
  • Community. Is there a strong community presence in the area, such as clubs, parks and other community-driven projects?
  • Budget. Is the home reasonable in weekly rent?

Tailor these criteria to your needs and only consider properties that fulfil them. This will help you cut down on the time you spend searching.

Finding great properties? Don’t lose them! Save your searches and manage your shortlist here

Have your paperwork ready 

Once you’ve found a suitable place, get your application documentation sorted before the viewing. This paperwork helps the property manager get to know you and your family and if done well, can help you stand out from the crowd. 

If you haven’t moved properties in a while, here’s a refresher on what you’ll need:

  • CVs or resumes
  • Personal and professional references
  • Tenancy history
  • A short statement about yourselves
  • A list of your family members who will be living at the property.

Property managers may ask for additional documentation such as IDs, a police background check and/or credit check. Head to the website of the specific property management company you’re working through, to find the details.

If you’re looking at family homes, then chances are the property manager and landlord are looking for families to live in them - so don’t feel you have to hide the fact you have kids! But do share some (positive) details about them in your profile. For example, include a short description of your kids’ qualities and hobbies such as, “Harris loves to help me in the garden”. This can help the manager connect with who you are and increase your chances of getting the place (and in this example, suggests you will take care of the grounds).

What to do when you’re at a viewing 

Viewing the property is your time to get to know the space better - and, perhaps most importantly, let the kids get excited about the house and neighbourhood. 

Ask questions, be polite and introduce yourselves. This may seem obvious, but a lot of people forget the basics and get lost among the crowd. A simple friendly conversation about the water pressure could be enough to make you and your application stand out. 

Not sure what questions to ask at a viewing? Download our checklist: Top 10 questions to ask at a rental viewing.

Download now

If you’re able to, drive past the property at different times of the day to see how the neighbourhood changes. Even take a walk around the community and test-drive any nearby playgrounds with the kids. 

And what not to do when you’re at the viewing 

Make sure the kids are on their best behaviour and don’t forget to take your own advice! Try to avoid statements like how this rental is only temporary and that you’ll be moving out as soon as you find a place to buy (if that’s your plan). Knowing this makes it harder for the property manager to consider your application.

Ready to start searching? Discover the place that’s right for you

Securing a tenancy before you find a home of your own is all about being prepared and arming yourself with the knowledge you need. Determine your needs, prepare the paperwork, make a good impression at the viewing and you’ll be well on your way to finding a great space. 

Your next step is to start your rental search, and there are thousands of listings waiting at Don’t forget, you can easily save your searches to efficiently manage your shortlist and so you don’t miss out on a great place.

Set up your rental property search now

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