For anyone who has looked at places to rent/lease, you will all know the standard things - how many bedrooms, close to shops, transport etc etc. However, there are three things that you should be aware of when searching for rental places.
  • Know the market.
  • Start early!
  • Move fast!

Let me explain the three points with an anecdote:
It's currently the final exam period at universities in Australia. This means that the rental market is about to flooded with rental properties as leases come to an end and students return home for the holidays. Therefore I know that I have to actively watch the rental websites/newspapers from now on.

I did come across a place in a trendy part of town and it was the nicest place I had seen so far (out of two places I seen in total at that time). I decided to wait and check out some other properties before I decided. By the time I had checked out a few other places (two days), the trendy place was gone! Having seen other places, I now know that the trendy place was a great bargain and a great place to stay - I am still kicking myself that I delayed applying for it. And that covers the last two points. By looking at properties earlier than you intend renting, you can get an appreciation of what constitutes a good place. And once you find that place - move fast! Even if you intend to continue looking at other places, get an application in. In my example, the place was leased the next day - if I had placed an application in the morning, I would have been in the running.

Don't make the mistakes that I did and miss out on your dream rented house/flat/apartment!