How to move up in the (rental) world

Perhaps your flatmates are useless at keeping the flat clean and you’re over the revolving door of people coming and going at all hours. Or maybe you’re ready to get serious and move in with your significant other.

Whatever your reasons, if renting with a group of people has run its course, it’s time to move on to a rental property of your own.

However, finding a home to rent yourself or with a partner is quite different from sharing with flatmates. For a start, it’s highly likely you’ll be looking for a nicer place, and this may be the first time you’re taking on the responsibility of a lease.

Here are our top tips to help you get organised for this new step.

Before we start, let’s take a reality check

Moving from a large, shared flat to a smaller, more intimate place is going to take adjusting to, especially when it comes to finances. 

Up until now, you’ve been able to split all the expenses across a group - get ready to lose these economies of scale. Privacy and the exclusive use of the kitchen and bathroom comes with a higher price tag.

Also, it’s likely you’ll want to upgrade to a nicer property in an area that suits your lifestyle, which will naturally be more expensive.

Fortunately, the move up often coincides with a career opportunity or pay rise. If that's you, that should help make the transition easier. If not, it’ll be important to save and keep a close eye on your budget.

Finding rentals you love? Don’t forget to save them so you can easily take another look. Manage your property shortlist here.

Get your paperwork organised

The rental market is competitive, especially when you’re applying for places that are more upmarket. Applying for a property is just like a job interview - you’re expected to provide a CV, references, a description of yourself and other documentation to prove your reliability and character.

Stand out from other applicants by having your documentation ready to go - and ready to impress. Here are a few tricks:

  • Canva can help you make a well-designed and eye-catching application
  • Novoresume is an excellent tool for CV’s 
  • If you really want to show you mean business, complete a paper version of the application form from your property manager’s website and take it with you to the viewing.

Put your best foot forward at the viewing

Like a job interview, rental viewings are vital for creating a memorable, good impression on the property manager. At the viewing, make sure you:

  1. Dress the part - that means your sharpest version of smart-casual
  2. Greet the property manager  confidently
  3. Shake their hand and introduce yourself
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
  5. Hand them your documentation
  6. Follow up with an email after the viewing.

Many hopeful tenants miss these basics and (surprise) miss out on the property as a result. If you’ve got a sensible question, even if the answer seems obvious, ask! A solid question can spark a conversation with the property manager that makes them remember you.

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

Download now

Inspect the property well

If you’re taking on the lease and planning to stay there for a while, keep your eyes peeled at the property viewing for features that are important to you.

Here are a few details to check:

  • Look out for any mould or water damage
  • See how the house is heated
  • Check the water pressure by turning on the showers and taps
  • Make sure all the rooms have enough power points
  • Check the home for damage (look behind any art for wall damage or under area rugs for carpet/floor damage)
  • Get a feel for where the morning and afternoon sun hits - is it sunny enough for you?
  • Look for smoke alarms (and ask if they work)
  • For apartments, units and properties down right-of-ways - are the surrounding properties owner-occupied? Rentals? Airbnb’s?
  • Assess the age of the neighbourhood - are there young families around, or college students?

Then do some of your own homework:

  • Check your commute and location of amenities such as nearby shops on Google Maps
  • Research if the address or landlord has a history with taking tenants to the Tenancy Tribunal
  • Drive by the property at different times of the day to get a feel for the neighbourhood.

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

Now that you’re prepared to take the next step up the rental ladder, your next property is only a search away. Kick-off the process by discovering rental properties in your favourite area on Don’t forget to filter and save your searches to efficiently manage your shortlist so you don’t miss an opportunity. Good luck!

Set up your rental property search now

You Might Also Like

Moving out? How to get your first flat

Your first flat. It means freedom, independence… and a break from mum and dad’s weeknight curfews. Y...

Top 5 relationships every real estate agent should have

As a real estate agent or salesperson, you play a key role in helping buyers and sellers achieve the...

How much is rural land really worth?

By Greg Petersen When purchasing rural property, you don’t want to offer too much and pay more for a...