If you’ve just bought your first investment property congratulations are in order! But renting out your property for the first time might feel a bit like climbing a tall mountain.
No one expects you to know how to rent out a property like a pro on your first attempt. Getting a property rented out fast is something even the most seasoned investors struggle with.
34% of investment property owners who come to us say that “finding tenants” is their main pain point.
Charging headfirst without knowing the ropes is brave, but not smart. If you do, you risk landing a problem tenant who could damage your rental property, or you might suffer extended vacancies.
We’ve come up with a few tips to help you rent out your first property fast and expertly. You’ll know the most important tasks you should complete before renting out your property, and some little known secrets for finding good tenants.
1. Know all the parts of getting your property ready for rent
It’s a reality for many property managers: figuring out how to buy and rent out your property for the first time can be tricky, especially if you want to get it done fast and without an agent.
And compliance is a major concern for landlords - up to 53% of property owners who reach out to us are worried about compliance.
So you’ll need to keep these important factors in mind if you’re renting out your property for the first time:
- Minimum safety requirements
- Clean your property
- Entry condition report
- Tenancy agreement
Those are the most important ones, but there's more to it. Use our new tenant checklist to ensure you're completely compliant before a tenant moves in.
2. Learn how to set the right rent
If you’re renting out your property – a house or a flat – for the first time, there are a few different routes you can go to set the rent on your rental property
- Get a free rental appraisal online.
- Contact your property manager for a rental appraisal letter.
- Calculate monthly rent by yourself.
If you’re keen on getting property management savvy, you may choose to calculate monthly rent yourself. If that’s the case, head to our guide to conducting a rental appraisal for a step-by-step walkthrough.
It’s also a good idea to do it yourself and also get a free rental appraisal letter. That way, you can compare your results and find the best rent on your first go.
3. Understand your target demographic
As a landlord renting out your property for the first time you might be asking yourself:
"How do I know what kind of tenants I should rent out my house to?"
That is a great question. Being across what kind of tenant would be the right fit for your property is the next logical step and will help you:
- Figure out the right time to have your open home and, later, inspections - depending on whether you’re targeting professionals, university students or families.
- Arrange your open home so it caters to the interests of your target market.
- Create a rental advertisement that will appeal to your target market – think: should that extra room be an office or bedroom?
So – how do you determine the right target demographic to rent your property (house or flat) out to? Here are a few factors to consider:
- Location: Where is your property located? Is it near public transport or a school? Is it in the inner-city area near a university or a quiet suburb? Questions like these will help you understand if your property is better suited to students, working professionals, or families.
- Income: Now that you’ve determined the appropriate rent price for your property, you can determine the level of income you expect in tenants. We recommend that income be 30% greater than the rent. If it's a 3 bedroom house at $700 a week, renting to students probably isn't the go.
Type of tenancy: while long-term tenancies are generally recommended, going for short-term or long-term tenants will depend on how you plan to use your investment property. But, it’s important that you think about it before renting out your property.
4. Market your property in a way that attracts tenants
Marketing will play a big role in renting out your property - this applies if it’s for the first time or subsequent tenancies.
Once you’ve determined the target demographic you’ll be renting your property out to, marketing your property becomes much easier.
To get it right:
- Focus on what your ideal tenants will value most such as renovations and spaces (bedroom Vs. office) and highlight that in your rental advertisement.
- Add some pizzazz to the rental ad by taking quality professional photos of your property.
- Advertise on more than one website.,
You have a couple of options for marketing your property.
If you have a property manager looking after your property, then you’ll have an advantage because you’ll be able to list your property on the biggest websites, namely domain.com.au and realestate.com.au. Their traffic and the quality of their applicants is simply unmatched.
This is good as your property will get heaps of exposure and better applicants on the whole.
5. Screen your tenants
For many property owners, the length they're willing to go to in terms of tenant screening is basically to have a chat with them over the phone and maybe ask for a reference.
If you're serious about preventing any rental arrears or damage to your property, you need to get serious when it comes to tenant screening. It's simply the best way to prevent problem tenants, and putting in that effort now will save you time, money and energy down the line.
Here are a few ways you can screen and check your tenants:
- Rental history
- Tenant database
- Credit check
- Personal and professional references
All of this information should be provided by tenants in their applications so you’ll be able to cross-check it.
The best way to ensure you're singing on a good tenant is by having our tenant selection guide handy, where we have a checklist of criteria and steps you can take when screening.
6. Consider getting landlord insurance
Landlord insurance is another safety net that you can put in place to protect your property.
Around 30% of claims are on loss of rent, it may well save you a lot of heartache down the line. It’ll also protect your property if tenants cause any damage that’s in breach of the rental agreement.
Insurance policies are important because they act as a safety net when things go awry. A good insurance policy will cover you for things like:
- Rent default
- Loss of rent
- Landlord Contents
- Personal injury or damage to property
It might seem like an excessive expense and to some it is, but it'll give you peace of mind and will save you in the long run when something serious does happen.
7. Invest in a property manager
You might believe that managing your rental property by yourself is a financially smart decision. It's true that you'll save several thousand dollars over the lifetime of your investment property.
But, if you ask any veteran investor, they'll probably tell you that hiring one is worth the time you end up saving. Especially if you're renting out your first property.
80% of property owners in Australia hire a property manager.
And with good reason. A good property manager takes care of most aspects related to your investment property. This includes:
- Ensuring your property is compliant with laws and regulations
- Rental appraisal
- Property maintenance
- Rent collection
- Handling incidents requiring urgent attention/repairs
- Resolving disputes
- Conducting routine inspections
You might choose to start with a property manager or agent, and once you learn how to rent out and manage your property on your own, you can always take back the reins.
We recommend reading through our complete guide with everything you need to know about property management, so you're equipped with as much knowledge as possible before making a decision.
8. Be across tenants’ rights and responsibilities
It's important to understand what tenants can expect from you, and what you can expect from them.
So, it’s important that you familiarise yourself with your and your tenants’ rights and responsibilities. These will differ by state so use this list of references to get started:
If the Tenancy Act for your state seems too detailed, you can start by reading our breakdown of Tenant Rights and Responsibilities in Australia.
9. Start thinking about steps to increase the returns on your investment property
While this may seem like an added responsibility, we think you should see it as a positive. When you own a rental, you're not just subject to the random events the universe might seem to throw you like in stocks. Instead, you have a degree of agency to make the journey successful yourself.
Some great ways to increase the value of your property include:
- Property maintenance: keeping your property well maintained (utilities, appliances, outdoor care) will increase its overall value and rent price.
- Invest in improvements and upgrades: there is a myriad of upgrades and renovations that you can make to maximise returns. The good news? They’re not all expensive!
- Safety and security: make sure your property is safe with fencing and up-to-date security systems.
- Getting pet-friendly: is your property equipped for pets? If it is, consider allowing tenants with pets rent your property – you’ll be able to charge them more!
If you want more tips on growing your property's value, read our guide on how to maximise your rental returns.
Your investment property is very unique in that you have a lot of agency and power to make it more successful on your own, rather than just being a passive investor.
This might seem like a lot to take in, but credits to you for seeking out expert advice on your first investing journey. It's a sign that you have lots of great things in store.
Remember, once you get familiar with the process and you've rented out your property a few times, it'll get easier and you'll know what to expect.
Like what you just read? There’s a lot more where that came from.
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