Advice for Finding a Rental in Sydney Before the Inspection

Today’s Question

Well we finally did it – we are in Sydney!

Been here two weeks already and loving it for the most part, but having a tough time finding a permanent place with two kids age 10 and 8. Ideally, we want a house with a yard, but now looking far out from CBD like Cherrybrook and Sutherland shire.

Any good advice on finding places before inspections? We are getting frustrated as several times we show up to a place and they are already rented!

Lauren’s Reply

I’ve always thought that finding a rental in Sydney would make a great reality show. Totally feels like the Great Amazing Race, running all over the city to get to a 15-minute inspection and making a decision on where you will be calling home for the next year.

It’s crazy stressful!

Ok, so got a few ideas to tip the scales in your favour.

1. Pick one or two areas to focus on. Cherrybrook and Sutherland are at opposite ends of the city and make it hard to get back and forth especially when rental inspections are only 15 minutes.

2. Download, fill out and email back to the real estate agent showing the flat your application before you even leave for the inspection. The sooner you get your application in the better, even sight unseen. You can change your mind later it doesn’t really make a difference to the real estate agent as they usually have someone else lined up. Go to to fill out just one application that you can submit to several real estate agents. Everyone I know uses 1form now when applying for an apartment in Sydney. It will make your rental search much easier and it’s accepted by most property management companies in Sydney.

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3. Up your game by including proof of employment. Just a simple letter from employer stating when you started etc. It doesn’t have to be super official but should be on company stationery. Proof of an Australian bank account like your most recent bank statement is a nice bonus to send in too. Basically, your 100 points references ready to go. I have listed out the 100 points ID reference documents here.

4. We had the same problem when we first arrived. Think almost everyone does. Our email campaign tip worked like a charm for us and has worked for other SMG readers too. I would give it a try. Also, use the meeting at the inspection as a way to network with the real estate agent. Write up a quick email just reminding them that you meet at such and such inspection and wanted to let them know that you are actively looking for something similar. Do they have anything coming up? What can you do to get your name on the top of their list of potential renters?

I think I sent out about ten cold emails to real estate agents the last time we were looking and heard back from two of them. The next inspection we went to we already had locked in because we were at the top of the list and already sent in all our paperwork ahead of time.

5. Got to the mid-week inspections. Viewings on a Tuesday at 2 pm have fewer people usually and those same apartments will have inspections on a Saturday, but it’s usually gone by then because of the Tuesday viewing.

6. Divide and conquer. My husband and I split up viewings that way we get to see more. We also have an agreement that if it’s a “yes” then jump on it. In fact, our place in Woollahra was one that my husband went to on his own and said yes before I even saw it. This is also the flat we sent in all our paperwork for so it was pretty much a done deal once he said yes.

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7. This is a tough one and might not be possible, offer to pay more. By this I mean either offer to pay more per week or offer to pay three months plus deposit up front. I know that’s a tough one because it’s expensive moving to Australia and savings can already be limited, but it does tip the scale.

8. Get help from a professional relocation agent. Here I got three recommendations for you.,, and

9. There is and, the two largest real estate search engines but don’t forget about, the Craigslist of Australia. Domain and RE will often have overlapping listings, but Gumtree is more owner listings and not real estate agency managed rentals.

Ok. That’s all I can think of right now. I’m sure you’ve already thought of most of these yourself but want to spell them all out for those in the process of making the move.

Anything I missed?

If so then please add it in the comments below.

Quick update to this post. I have a recent guest post all about finding a rental in Sydney when you have no tenant history that is very related to this post.