Finding and securing a Melbourne rental property is hard. Almost everyone you talk to about finding a place to rent in Melbourne will tell you that it is a long journey of frustrations and heartache. People who find out what I do always begin with “I wish I knew of you when I was looking for a place” immediately followed by the horror stories of how long it took to find them a place and how many applications they sent in that were rejected. Why is it so hard to find a place to rent?

The demand outweighs the supply

You will hear talks about the number of apartment buildings that are being built around the inner 10kms from the Melbourne CBD and yet the number of people looking are still far greater than the available rooms. Yes, there are countless of new apartment buildings that are rising but people flock to Melbourne from overseas and interstate.

Melbourne’s population has the fastest growth rate in Australia

In a report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Melbourne’s population is projected to overtake Sydney by 2051 reaching over 10 million people.  Projections for 2021, says the net migration number will be close to 700,000 people. Almost 90% of these will be from overseas and 10% from interstate. Imagine having to compete with these numbers in finding a rental property.

You’re competing with more than 4 others

Under the $750 mark for a two bedroom, you will find there are plenty of other people who can afford places like this. The lower the rent for a two bedroom apartment or house, the more people there will be interested especially if the online photos of the property looks immaculate. And if the rental property is as nice as it is in the photos, you can be sure those who have attended will also apply.

Inspection of a rental in Melbourne is different

Most people come to Melbourne and find out that the rental system is different from the country they come from. Agents dictate the day and time of an inspection and you go and check the rental property. The inspection times are 10 minutes long. In other countries, if you are looking for a place to rent, you go to an agent and tell them what you are looking for and they give you a list of places that they think suits the criteria you have given them.

Not knowing what to pay for in rent

New city, new set of rules. Australia has one of the highest rental prices in the world. As a renter from overseas, it is essential to your sanity to keep an open mind. If you have a specific budget for rent that is inflexible, be open to looking at other areas. Or if you have a particular area you want to live in, then you have to be flexible with your budget.

Inspections are only 10 minutes long

You’ll be making a decision on your future home of 12 months by conducting a visual inspection within 10 minutes.  You may want to check out every single detail but you may have a list of places you want to look at.

You can’t attend inspections

The bulk of inspections are scheduled on a Saturday from 8:30am to 2pm.  What if two or even three places that you like are scheduled very close to each other? Do you have a reliable means of transport that gets you to all the properties you want to look at? What do you do?  Also, inspections are now being scheduled during work hours which makes it even more difficult for you to leave work to go check a place out for 10 minutes. And most of the times, the property isn’t what it appears to be.

The online photos don’t match reality

Online advertising is a great marketing tool to showcase a rental property. But with digital photography, it’s so easy to manipulate a property to look bigger and brighter than what it actually is. Sometimes, the photos uploaded are from the past where the property is dressed for sale. Years later, after wear-and-tear, the property isn’t the same anymore. And you leave feeling disappointed and your time wasted.

When you apply for a rental, it doesn’t mean you get the place

Most people who come to Melbourne think that just because they submit an application for a rental property, they automatically get it. This is not the case. Remember, there are others who are also interested in the property. The agents and landlords will do their due diligence and contact your rental reference to find out if you have paid the rent on time and if the place was left behind in good condition. Just because you are loaded doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be the winner.

All things even, your rental reference is essential

People who look at a particular place in a particular price range will most likely have similar incomes. So it isn’t just about money doing all the talking. Obviously, a rental reference in Australia is far easier to confirm that from overseas especially if there is a language barrier and time difference. If one of the applicants have an Australian rental reference, it is far easier to check this.

You don’t have anyone to talk to about your renting journey

Sometimes you need a sounding board and find out if the decisions you are making are correct. I know I offer a paid service but I understand I work for you and not the real estate agent. I give you unbiased and unfiltered advice because you will be the one living in the property. The real estate agents work for the landlord and they are looking after the landlord’s best interest. I look after your interests.

Some other applicant offered more rent

There will be an interested party in the group of people that you meet at an inspection that will offer more rent so that they can secure the rental. Obviously, in this case, the money does talk and if all the applicants are equally acceptable, why wouldn’t the agent give the rental property to someone who offers them more rent? Not only does that mean the landlord gets more, the agent also gets more because they work a percentage of the rental income.