Tenants: The Secret to Securing Rental Perfection

by Shannyn Laird


Selecting and securing a rental property can feel like an insurmountable challenge.

You might be struggling to match your budget to a desired location. The timing for when you want to move in might not line up with when the current tenant’s lease is ending. Or perhaps you’re moving from interstate or overseas, and understanding the new city seems daunting.

I’ve seen an array of prospective tenants paralysed by confusion and choice – but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Here are my property-manager tips to help those seeking their perfect rental.


  1. Don’t lock in location first

The vast majority of renters who come to our us looking for a property start the conversation by insisting they must be within a certain suburb.

Interstate arrivals from Sydney are notorious for this – and I understand why.

However, my suggestion is to step back a little and, instead of homing in on a location, ask yourself why you feel it’s imperative to live in a particular suburb.

Could it be you like the school district, or local shopping. It might be access to work. It could even be because you have friends who’ve insisted that, “The suburb of (X) is only place to live in Brisbane!”

Throw away your suburb preconceptions and think more about needs, not location. It’s entirely possible that by first shifting your focus, you can have all you desire elsewhere.


  1. Write out a comprehensive list

Now you have the mindset of considering your needs first, write them down.

Think about your locational desires. Is being in a great public-school catchment a key want? Are certain types of lifestyle, entertainment and café hubs high on your list? Will public transport be essential, or perhaps you just need an easy drive to work?

Now, make up a list of the specific property attributes you’re looking for based on how you and your family live.

Number of bedrooms, bathrooms, living areas and car accommodation are the basics as a starting point, but make sure you dig further as well.

Do you need a yard for the kids, or low maintenance landscaping because you travel a lot? Are there essential inclusions such as air conditioning or a pool? Would you like a small-block contemporary home, or a wide-frontage colonial.

Make up a long list of wants and desires first up to get the ball rolling.


  1. Prioritise your ‘non-negotiables’

Now you have set out all that you want from a property, highlight the things you must have among the list.

These elements will rule out any listing that doesn’t include them.

So, if you absolutely need lockable off-street garaging for two cars, then highlight it. If you must have four full-size bedrooms and two bathrooms, mark it as important.

This is also the time to prioritise. For example, if being close to great schools is more important than a short commute to work, say so. You may be able to have both, but if you can’t, then now’s the time to understand where you’ll compromise if the choice needs to be made.


  1. Talk to an experienced property manager

This is an essential step, particularly if you’re moving to an area from interstate or overseas.

While I absolutely encourage tenants to wander through the online rental listings to get familiar with what’s on offer, take a moment to look at which property managers keep popping up in your searches.

For example, many people believe because our office is based in Brisbane’s inner-west, we only represent rentals in Paddington and its immediate surrounds – but that just isn’t the case.

I deal in the ‘executive rental’ sector and have a range of listings, both on- and off-market, from across a variety of locations. The only way to comprehensively discover what’s on offer is to call and ask.

In addition, excellent property managers will help you negotiate unfamiliar territory in terms of rental procedures, from the application process to understanding your responsibilities (and the landlord’s too) in the rental relationship.

Having a property manager as a ‘rental advisor’ boosts your chances of success.


  1. Keep your mind open

This is where your ‘must have’ and ‘want to have’ lists come to the fore – particularly if you’ve set aside location as the defining factor in the first step.

Your property manager will be able to discuss the options about the types of properties and suburbs which tick your boxes in terms of facilities, features and budget.

Listen to us – we know our stuff! And the result could surprise you.

For example, I recently helped a family from Sydney find the perfect rental in Northgate. This wasn’t their first choice for location (Hamilton or Ascot was at the top of their list), but once I revealed the suburb and a property that checked all the must-have items on their list – including a beautiful house with a pool, excellent community feel and easy access to the city – they were blown away.


  1. Work with the property manager and potential landlord

Lease negotiations don’t need to be adversarial, and terms and conditions can be flexed to ensure all parties are happy.

For example, do you need access to a property sooner than advertised? Tell the manager and you may find an existing tenant, or current resident owner, will be happy to move out earlier. You might even be doing them a favour.

Found the right property but have a family member with an allergy to the old carpet? Let the owner know. They may have been planning for a sand and polish of that family room floor anyway.

There are a number of ways the property manager, owner and tenant can work together to ensure a great outcome for all.


Finding the right rental for you and your family is entirely possible, so long as you’re willing to be guided by experienced specialists like us. In the end, you get the property you want, the landlord benefits from a secure lease to a satisfied tenant and the property manager has happy clients on both sides.