Finding an apartment, house or flat in a competitive rental market can be frustrating. The good places often get snatched up fast, and you end up feeling like you have to compromise on what you really want just to secure a roof over your head.
When I was searching for my most recent flat, the rental market was hot, and availability was low. But after weeks of searching, I eventually found an amazing place that met all my needs. It wasn’t easy, but I learned some valuable tips along the way for navigating a competitive rental market.
Whether you’re relocating to a new city or just moving across town, with some patience and the right strategy, you can find a rental you genuinely love, even when pickings seem slim. With these tips, you can have a successful search too, no matter what challenges the market throws at you.
Start your search early
Beginning your property search as soon as you know you want to move gives you a head start, which is handy in this competitive market. If you have a deadline to move out of your current place, it’s best to start as early as possible. It’s a good idea to monitor listings websites and check for new places frequently, and be ready to view properties at short notice, and apply quickly when you find one you’re interested in. Good spots will go fast, so the earlier you start searching the better.
Expand your search to surrounding neighbourhoods
It’s easy to get focused on a single ideal neighbourhood when searching for rentals, but in competitive markets you may need to broaden your horizons. Look at adjacent areas, even if they weren’t initially on your radar. Nearby areas often have greater availability and less demand, even if they lack some of the specific amenities you were hoping for, and they might even be a bit cheaper too. A slightly longer commute or being further from some attractions may be a reasonable trade-off for finding a property that checks your other boxes.
Be flexible about the details
When availability is tight, you may need to compromise on some of the specifics to find a place that works for you. Focus on your must-haves like the number of bedrooms it has or the size of the kitchen, and try to stay open-minded about other factors. It’s also worth remembering to look beyond the photographs — cosmetic details are easy to change and what really matters is how the space would function for your needs.
Go beyond online listings
Don’t just rely on websites and online letting agents. Instead, get out and survey your target neighbourhoods for yourself as well. Look for ‘To Let’ signs in front gardens or windows – lesser-known landlords and those looking to fill properties quickly will often just advertise with garden signs rather than deal with the expense of online agents. You may find an ideal place that isn’t even listed online yet. The fast and proactive approach often wins, especially with independent landlords. Even if the signs only indicate a general area or price range, it’s worth investigating what may be available that you haven’t seen online.
Competitive rental markets can pose challenges, but with a proactive and determined approach, you can navigate them successfully. Starting early, being flexible in your thinking and casting a wide net beyond basic online searches can open you up to more choices and better opportunities.
Staying optimistic and persistent will pay off eventually, even if it takes more time and work than you might have anticipated. But it’s important to remember to compromise when needed, but never settle — the perfect rental for you is out there, it just may require some patience and creativity to find it.
Have any tips of your own for finding the perfect rental property? I’d love to hear from you, so please get in touch!