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Renting a property overseas

Article by Mozo

Looking to escape Australia’s sweltering summer by heading overseas to a more bearable climate? Realistically you know you can’t afford the hefty prices of a hotel for a couple of months so why not look into renting a house or apartment, it could be a much more viable alternative. There are plenty of advantages to renting a property overseas whether you choose to a Tuscan villa, a property on the Mexican Pacific coast or a unit in the hub of Dublin. Read on to learn all you need to know about renting a property overseas, you’ll be pleased to discover it’s a relatively stress free process.

Jump online and start googling

While the world is your oyster, deciding on the exact country of where you’re going to spend the summer or winter abroad can be a tough decision! However, once you’ve made your decision stick to it and start researching property management companies, real estate agents or ‘by owner’ sites in that town. There can be hundreds of rental agency sites dedicated to short term stays in your chosen town so we can’t list them all. However here are a few reputable and reliable sites where owners advertise their apartments to travellers, therefore you deal directly with the landlord.

  • Airbnb
  • VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner)
  • HomeAway

Get a feel for what’s out there and start making a ‘favourites list’ of potential places that are available to rent during the time you’ll be away, are within your budget and appear liveable and comfortable.

Location, location, location

It’s important to spend the time researching the best suburbs or area to live in. Think about what you’re planning on doing while living overseas for the summer and that will aid your decision on your rental location. Do you want to be close to the nightlife action so you can walk to clubs and pubs? Or perhaps you want to rent a place as far away from the entertainment hub as possible to avoid noises at all hours of the morning. A bad decision on the location of your rental property can put a real dampener on your holiday.
Do you require the rental property to be close to any of the following?

  • Parks and playgrounds (if you’re travelling with children)
  • Café and shops
  • Tourist hotspots
  • Public transport
  • Nightlife

Check out the locations on a map so you know just how convenient it is for you.

Make contact with the owner or agent and ask questions

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices and found a few places that tick your boxes get in contact with the owner or agent of the properties. There’s no harm in comparing a few places to ensure you’re not getting ripped off. Communicating with the owner or agent is also a good chance to get a feel for the person you’re going to be dealing with and may help you feel less anxious before you embark on that foreign stay in Greece or Scotland.

Here are a few questions you may have in regards to the property:

1.     Is there Wi-Fi/how good is the internet access?
2.     Are there laundry facilities?
3.     What is the walking distance to public transport?
4.     How effective is the heating or air conditioning?
5.     Is there a lift? Especially if the unit is higher than three floors!
6.     Is linen included in the rental price?
Now don’t be shy, you can also negotiate the rental price with the owner or agent. Given you’re staying for more than a week you have some bargaining power as it guarantees the owner income for a longer period of time.

Check out reviews

After chatting with the owners or agents take the time to read some reviews on the property from fellow travellers. This will give you a good indication of what the place is exactly like and if it really is a 'cosy, quiet, modern, sun drenched apartment.’ Reviews can also reassure you you’re making the right decision, especially if one reads ‘the owner went out of their way to make us feel at home, gave us helpful information on local attractions and even provided us with milk and bread.’ Now that’s a winner!

Read the lease thoroughly

Just like here in Australia, you’ll have to sign a lease when renting a property overseas. As this is a legally binding document, make sure you read it carefully. If the lease is in a foreign language get it translated, as you don’t want to miss any important information. Check for things like how much notice is required to terminate the lease, who’s responsible for maintenance, repairs and cleaning when you vacate the property.


Once you’ve made the reservation on the property, it’s likely you’ll have to pay a deposit or bond. The deposit can range from 10-50% of the total rental cost. Some places may even require you to pay the entire rent upfront.

How to make the payments

When it comes to paying the bond, deposit or rent, the last thing you want is to lose half your hard earned savings in conversion fees and other charges. That’s why we recommend you avoid the banks and look for a competitive foreign exchange specialist when transferring money overseas for rental properties. Banks offer a poor exchange rate and don’t miss you when it comes to fees! They charge a high conversion fee on top of a sending and receiving fee, so there goes your spending money!

Why use an IMT specialist?

We highly recommend using a foreign exchange specialist such as OFX, Currency Fair or World First to transfer the bond, deposit or rent for an overseas property. These are the professionals in the market, offering an attractive exchange rate and the best value for your Australian dollars. The fees of a FX provider are a lot more modest compared to the banks and they can usually transfer funds 24/7. This is a great feature given the time differences between Australia and overseas, meaning you won’t miss out on that gorgeous art deco apartment in the heart of New York city.

Click here to compare the best IMT deals on the market.  

Information you’ll need to set up an international money transfer

  • Personal details including your name, address, date of birth, phone number
  • You’ll have to provide your driver's licence, medicare card or passport number
  • Details of the account where the transfer money will be deposited from
  • Name and address of the recipient's bank 
  • Recipient's name, address and account number
  • SWIFT/BIC Code - this is an 8 or 11 digit code that identifies banks around the world
  • The amount and currency you wish to send  

Upon Arrival

Regardless of where in the world you’re renting a property, when you arrive at the home take note of any damage to the place and document the contents. The last thing you want is to be charged for broken wine glasses when you didn’t even touch a drop of alcohol!

Advantages to renting a property overseas

  • The opportunity to experience living like a local
  • You get a kitchen, so no need to dine out for every meal
  • There’s every chance the property will have a washing machine
  • More space to unwind and relax compared to a hotel
  • Renting a property over summer or winter can be cheaper than staying in a hotel for the same period of time
  • Many come with free internet

Disadvantages to renting a property overseas

  • There’s no butler to carry your bag
  • No reception desk unlike if you stay at hotel where there’s often 24/7 concierge service
  • There can be additional costs on top of the rent such as a bond and cleaning fees
  • You may have to scrub the place spotless before you leave
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