MY VERY FIRST POST 😉 ~ We just moved to Auckland from small town New Plymouth Taranaki~ I’ve found it to be a stressful event to find a rental home in Auckland especially when we are not familiar with the region. The process can be lengthy and outcome of getting your desired rental home is not always a guaranteed success. We are lucky to find a rental home in lovely North Shore’s suburb, Forrest Hill. We were able to secure a 1960s double storey house that has good proximity to the local school, Forrest Hill Primary School after extensive months of research, scouting and hard work.
I thought it would be good to share some useful information regards to finding a rental property in North Shore, Auckland 🙂
Finding rental in North Shore, Auckland
- Using TradeMe Property
We used trademe property to search for our rental home. Trade me is the leading site for Kiwis to buy and sell online. Alternatively, realestate.co.nz has residential house for rent option. For trademe.co.nz website, you may view the website from overseas but in order to utilise the services i.e. booking open home, buy/sell et cetera, you need to subscribe/register for a trademe account and have a valid New Zealand residential address.
1.1 Searching Method using ‘Lowest Price’ on TradeMe Property
After I have set the Region, District and Suburb field choices, as well as, the number of bedrooms; and without setting a budget in the Rent Per Week field, I usually search and sort by using ‘Lowest Price’ option as this tells me the lowest available rental price in the desired neighbourhood. From here, I can gauge the overall median of rental of the desire suburb or if I am willing to stretch my budget. I find this to be most effective method of searching and knowing whether the we can afford to rent in the desire suburb.
Alternately, we can search for suburb median rent using Tenancy Services, Market Rent website that will give an accurate indicated median rental of a specific neighbourhood.
2. Space for Young Family – Number of Bedrooms
With our family of four with school aged kids, at bare minimum, a 3-bedroom house or apartment is best suited for us in terms of price and space to grow into. Also, we found that Property Managers are quite reluctant to rent us a 2-bedroom house as the space may be a little too small for comfort. A garage would be a bonus as this would mean having the extra space to store our things or for the kids to use as a rumpus room, if it’s carpeted and dry.
It is crucial to attend the open home on the appointed times to gauge the actual living spaces. Most often, the photos of the properties are not actual reliable representation of the rental home. Things might look fresh and new on photos, but in actual fact, it is not at closer inspection on site. So, do schedule in and book for the open home and decide from there if the rental house has good enough living space for your family. If you can’t be there, get a trusted friend or family member to attend the open home on your behalf and assist you in making the right decision.
3. Home Insulation
Rental homes must meet the standard home insulation by July 2019. The compulsory insulations include ceiling and floor insulation, where is possible. Wall insulation is not compulsory. When looking for a rental home, please do not take the property agent’s word for it. Seriously, do careful inspection to ensure all required insulation are taken care of by the landlord. You would be extremely thankful during the cooler months or nights when the house is insulated and it would save you a mighty heap of heating bills and doctor’s bills.
4. Deciding on a suburb (for family with school-aged kids)
4.1 Before and After-School Care on School’s Site
Having spent time doing lots of research and searching on trademe property, we decided that we need to be in a neighbourhood that has a school that partners with a before- and after-school care or at least the has pick-up services to ferry our kids to the centre.
Most of the North Shore’s primary schools has before- and after-school care on-site, I have compiled a good list below for your convenient, located on the schools’ ground (hours below are for after school care):-
- Forrest Hill Primary School- Kids Klub Forrest Hill, 2:30 to 6:00pm
- Sherwood Primary School, Browns Bay- BASC, 3:00 to 6:00pm
- St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Takapuna- sKids Takapuna
- Takapuna Primary School, Takapuna- Takapuna After School Care, 3.00 to 6.00pm
- Campbells Bay Primary School, Campbells Bay- sKids Campbell Bay, 3.00 to 6.00pm
- Milford Primary School, Milford- sKids Milford, 3.00 to 6.00pm
- Devonport Primary School, Devonport- sKids Devonport, 3.00 to 6.00pm
4.2 Commuting Time
The time to commute from the office to after-school care centre is crucial in the search of the right neighbourhood fit. Ideally, the time to commute from your office to pick up your kids from after-school care centre should capped for less than one hour, do take in account of heavy traffic during peak hours. The neighbourhood choice will determine the school zone that your kids are entitled to enrol; and it is also the location of the after-school centre. For example, if you leave work by 5pm sharp, you should be able to pick up your kids before 6pm (note: depending on the after-school care operating hours, some after-school care finishes at 5.30pm), should the travel time is capped for less than 1 hour. It is very costly $$$ if you are late to pick you your children in North Shore Auckland. Therefore, it is good idea to have your commuting time well-planned or make other arrangements i.e. having a baby-sister / nanny / au pair / grandparents / family member who can pick your kids from after-school care centre.
4.3 School Decile Rating
The school decile rating indicates the socio-economic status of the students in a particular zoned school. A decile 10 school is presumably more desirable than a decile 1 school. Having said this, the higher the decile, the lower the funding the school gets from the government. For zoning definition, please visit Enrolment Schemes (School Zones) to know more.
4.4 Your Must Have(s)
For our family, some of the conveniences that we must have(s) are close proximity to kids’ school (walking preferred) and easy accessibility to health and medical facilities, as well as, local grocer and in to be in a leafy neighbourhood. These are some consideration you can make when choosing the right fit of neighbourhood to live in. Choosing the right neighbourhood is choosing your lifestyle.
5. Tenancy Tracker by Trade Me (Example on online Tenant Application Form)
Tenancy Tracker by Trade Me allows you to apply online properties available for rent. There are many other online rental tenancy application portal by different property management companies. The idea is that you submit your information online and this information will be used repeatedly for the application for the rental properties, without you needing to re-enter all information again (provided if the properties are under the same property management company that you previously submitted to).
This is one of the key process you must do, once you have attended an open home with the property manager. It is important to fill in the Tenant Application Form immediately for the property manager to verify your details and for them to process your application.
The online application form requires you to fill-in your current and previous landlord references, character references, information regards to your current and previous living situation i.e. owned home or rental home, other names of tenants that will live in the same property, number of vehicles, pets (if any), smoker / non-smoker, any previous problems with Tenancy Tribunal, your next of kin contact and additional information i.e. payslip or proof of funds. These are usually standard questions to be filled in online when you apply for a rental property in Auckland region. There are also policies and privacy information that you need to read and agree to.
The Dashboard in Tenancy Tracker by Trade Me shows your active application and the status of the application and the property management company that you have submitted your application to.
6. Attending the Open Home
Some of the Property Managers will require you to schedule and book a time for open home, whereas others will set a open time viewing which falls usually on a Sunday.
Have a throughout look and check for the following in an Open Home (rental property):-
- Check for house insulation
- Check for mould and dampness (if any), any leakages?
- Check for hot water source (electric or gas). Hot water tank will require a replacement by the landlord every 8 to 12 years (Depending on the age, manufacturer and model of the electric water tank) – ask if the water heater was replaced if you noticed anything is amissed?
- Check the locks and windows handles, if anything is damaged or needs to be fixed
- Check for type of heating, whether it is in working condition i.e. heat-pump, wood fire, gas fire
- Find out the orientation of the house (the living room should be facing North, captures the sun)
- Is the house located on a busy road or intersection? Is it noisy? It is unsafe? Is it easy for you to enter into the house driveway or exit the house? Is there a blindspot coming out from the house driveway?
- Are the houses on the same street at an acceptable maintenance level or in derelict condition?
- Is the bathroom in working condition? Are the lights working?
These are some of the things you may inspect during an open home.
During the open home, have a chat with the property manager if you need to know more or are genuinely concerned about getting a rental property (you may want to explain your situation, especially if you are out of state and looking to relocate to Auckland region) and perhaps he / she can explained your chances of your securing the rental property. Bear in mind, not all property managers are create equal. Some are kinder and more helpful than others.
I hope you will find this sharing useful and resources here applicable in your rental house hunt. Drop me a line to share once you find your prefect house!
Happy house hunting 🙂