How do I find a property to rent in Cairns, where do I start?

Tuesday 09 Jun 2020

Whether you are looking at moving suburb, looking to down/up size, sell your property and move into a rental or it is just time to move into a new rental property; the process of finding a new rental property can be exciting but a bit stressful.

The most important thing when looking at moving to a new rental property is to be organised. Not only will this make the process as easy as possible but it will certainly save you a lot of stress and headaches. It will also give a good first impression to the real estate agent.

This blog, is a great checklist to get you organised and help you in this process!

This part is the most exciting part, looking at different available properties to see which suits you and your family best! Keep in mind this process should not be rushed, you want to find a handful of properties to shortlist. There are some things to keep in mind while searching:

  • Location:
    Ensure that the properties you are searching are suitable for your lifestyle. For example if you have children, choosing a property that is near there school, or if you like the beach choosing a home that is located close to the beach would be ideal for you. When you search on Real Estate websites such as or put these suburbs in the search bar, this will ensure that you only see properties that are in the suburbs you have shortlisted. Other location factors to consider are shops, transport, parks, restaurants and proximity to work.
  • Size:
    The size of the rental property when searching is very important. If you are a couple with 2 children you do not want to be looking at 1 bedroom units, conversely if you are a single person you will not want to be looking at 5 bedroom houses. We would recommend that you pick a range of bedrooms and bathrooms that you think will be suitable (eg 2-3 bedroom and 2+ bathroom). When you search on Real Estate websites such as or put these bedrooms and bathrooms in the search bar filters,this will ensure that you only see properties that are suitable in size for you!
  • Affordability:
    The affordability of the rental property is very important to consider while searching. It is important, to keep in mind that when the real estate agency processes your application, the affordability is usually based on 30% of the combined income of all applicants ie you and your partner or friend. What we would recommend, is getting your recent payslips or statements together, calculate your weekly income then work out 30%. Once you have that amount, put up to that amount in the search price field when you search on Real Estate websites such as or to ensure that you are not looking at properties which are out of the affordability range.
  • Special Features of the property.
    It is important that when you are searching for your next rental property to include any special features that you would ideally like. Things like air-conditioning, pool, dishwasher etc. When you search on Real Estate websites such as or use the filters and features to pop these special features in, this means that the results that show will make sure they have those features.

By now, you would have a bit of a selection of the properties online to look through. It is important to do a bit of a shortlist. Copy all of the address or links into a document and carefully start looking at the different properties online. You want to now get this shortlist down to about 3-4 properties that you will book in inspections for. The best way to shortlist down to 3-4 properties is to carefully read the description and look at the photos. You want to determine that it is suitable and has the features you are looking for. It is also highly recommended to google map the address to get an idea of where the property is. Where possible, do a drive by of the property to make sure the area and location are suitable to you.


Ok, so now you have your shortlisted properties. It is now time to book in some viewing times of these properties. Most agencies have an online 24/7 book inspection option, which is fantastic because if you are doing your research at night you can book in the inspection online even if the Real Estate is closed for the day. You will usually find the book inspection button on the bottom or right hand side of the website page. Once you click it, it will give you all the booking times and you can automatically book in.

Remember that you will receive inspection reminder text messages and to always confirm if you can attend or cancel if you cannot make it.


It is always important to be prepared when you are booked in to inspect a property. If you find the property is suitable for you we recommend to hand your application in to the Real Estate agency shortly after the inspection so they can commence processing it.

You will often find the Real Estate application forms on their website so you can print it out and commence filling it in before the inspection. It is important to remember the following when filling in an application

    Ensure you triple check that you have put up to date and correct contact details so that the real estate agency can contact you quickly if they have any questions
    Ensure that you have the agency name, email address and property address for your previous rental properties. This ensures that the real estate agency can get the rental reference from your previous agency as quick as possible
    Ensure that you have the most up to date details for your references (both personal and employment). It is also a good idea to let them know that you have put them down as a reference so they are aware that they will receive a call from the real estate company.
    It is important that you include these details, as when an application is discussed with the landlord of the property they do want to know when an applicant can move in and their preferred lease length
    This is very important, anyone over the age of 18 intending to live in the property will need to fill in an application (even if they wish to just be an approved occupant and not on the lease) but you will also need to list all occupants and their age (EG Sam Smith 2 years old, Lila Smith 6 years old etc)
    A lot of people these days have pets, landlords understand that and pets are often on application when applying for a property. It is important to include all details on the pet in your application such as: age, desexed or not desexed, council registration number, breed of pet. It is also recommended to include a photo


If the property is suitable, it is now time to submit your application. This can be done via email or by dropping it into the real estate office. Once you have dropped in your application, allow a minimum of 24-48 hours to process the application. A lot of agencies have an online application update system which will send you text message updates along the way such as; being processed with the property manager or with the owner.

It is important to keep in mind that some landlords do live interstate or overseas and may be harder to contact that others but you will always receive text message updates.

If you are successful, the real estate will contact you to complete the next step of the lease signing and moving in. Sometimes properties can receive nearly 15 applications on one property, so please keep in mind that although you may have a great application the owner may have chosen another application. If this is the case, you can let the real estate know another property you would like to put your application towards.


Patrice Hayton - Marketing Coordinator