Looking for a new rental property can be a daunting task; chances are good that if you are searching for a property online you may be looking to move to a new area of the country for work or family reasons. Even if you are not moving to a new area but are looking to move to another property in the same region it can still be a big task.
What methods are there to help with the search?
There are still the more traditional methods open to rental house hunters which will include the local papers (if you are in the area to receive one) or visiting the letting agents offices directly. These are still valuable methods but can be time consuming or impossible depending on your situation. To visit the local letting agents may take a whole day or even worse a whole weekend, depending on where you are living and where you are moving too, plus there are no guarantees that you will find what you are looking for. If you set out a weekend to look for a property it could be likely that a knee jerk reaction could happen if you become desperate to find a property during the time you are there.
How do the Property Portals/Directories Help Me
In days gone by the portal sites and directory sites that advertised property were often found to be frustrating to use, you may have found the house or flat that you would like to take a look at, make contact with the agents only for them to announce that the property had already gone and the site was out dated. The portals have now become much more sophisticated and are as up to date as the agents own websites. Taking feeds automatically from the agents own databases on a daily basis often the property found is current, OK, so you may be unlucky and have selected a property that had already gone that day, however more often than not this wont be the case.
The Available Information
The information on these sites is good and provide full property details, location maps, landlord requirements (ie/ no smoking, dss, pets) and even have the facility to download the property details so you can review your top selections in your own time offline. The rental market has always been a step behind the sales market when it comes to particulars and advertising documents, this now is not the case and you will find that rental property online is documented as well as sales. The good sites will also provide agent profile pages which outline their services and also give you a link through to their company website so you can check for further information.
Are Rentals Still Second Behind Sales
A lot of sites are focused on sales and estate agents and have the rentals as a side issue. The rentals market is an entirely different market and is aimed towards a different sector of people, it is important that the marketing online and offline is aimed towards the correct demographic group. There are specialist sites which are aimed purely towards the rental market of which it would make sense to use these services first. As always there are some better sites to use than others and it makes sense to research each one and check as many properties as you can (online) first.