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Thread: The joy of finding short-term rentals

  1. #1
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    Cool The joy of finding short-term rentals

    Here we are on day 11 in New Zealand, and we just sorted out where we are going to live for the next two months! Huzzah and hurray.

    Our first week was all set with an Airbnb in the North Shore of Auckland, which turned out to be ideal for us. Much more peaceful than the CBD, very quiet neighborhood (except for crickets and tui!), beautiful views of both downtown and a nature reserve, and walkable to many different shops and restaurants. Our missions were to get settled, take care of basic chores like getting phone SIMs and finding a used car to buy, all while my husband continued to work full-time (remotely of course).

    Once TradeMe figured out that we were now in NZ, we got our accounts activated (apparently you can get this done ahead of time by special arrangement) and started scouring listings. They had to be furnished, and they had to accept short-term rentals, and they had to be okay with the fact that we couldn't come to any viewings, since we were only looking at places far from Auckland. This severely limited our choices, as you can imagine, probably mainly on that last point. We also wanted something available very SOON, which was hardest of all.

    This would all be easier if we weren't 4 people, I imagine. Hotels and other night-by-night housing isn't so bad as a single person. We could have continued hopping around from Airbnb to Airbnb, or similar sites like Bookabach. It does get expensive though, and we wanted to get settled in so hubby could focus on both work and his job search, and homeschool for the kids.

    We were very fortunate that a Facebook friend offered to let us stay with her family "for as long as you like," although we would have felt uncomfortable taking her up on more than a few days! A old-fashioned Kiwi welcome, indeed! Our kids enjoyed having playmates for a change. Even more fortunately, our back-and-forth messages and calls to landlords started to pay off.

    I think it helps a lot if you are arriving a bit off-season, because a number of people have holiday homes that they can't keep full outside of summer and maybe shoulder season. We ended up going with an agent in Nelson who advertised some really gorgeous homes on TradeMe, with deep discounts on holiday homes for stays of a month or longer. It doesn't hurt to email holiday home websites and ask if they can hook you up with something like this.

    This is still a "top of budget" option, but comparable to what we were paying for rent anyway back home...heh...and once we know what our long term situation is, we can move somewhere cheaper. It's easy while all we have is suitcases.

    For what it's worth, the landlords I contacted didn't have a problem accepting references from landlords back home.

  2. #2
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    Glad to hear everything is going ahead satisfactorily.

  3. #3
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  4. #4
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    Congrats Juniper...it sounds like everything is falling into place. We went through all of the same trials and tribulations when we first moved to NZ years ago. There are so many things that you just don't think about, until you run into them. Luckily Kiwis don't make it nearly as complicated to sort things out as elsewhere in the world. Everything fell into place eventually.

    Good advice about finding off-season holiday rentals. That's exactly how we settled in initially. A couple that advertised their very nice holiday home near Rotorua were willing to let us (and our two cats) move in for a few months during the autumn/winter until we got our bearings and could find a place of our own. They are still a couple or our closest friends.

    We're back in the U.S. now, but we're planning on returning to NZ soon and will settle in the Nelson area. Would you be so kind as to PM the contact information for the Nelson real estate agent you used? We have friends in the area, but knowing a RE professional would be very helpful. Our cats have since passed on but now we have two well-behaved (small-ish) dogs so it'll be a bit tougher to find a place to rent until we decide to buy a home.

    TIA!
    Last edited by richsadams; 18th March 2018 at 07:07 AM.

  5. #5
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    Thanks! Right now we are finding banking the hardest nut to crack, since we don't have a permanent address (not even an overseas one). Our property manager is vouching for us, but that's where using a holiday home could be a disadvantage as it's not seen as permanent, and we don't have our own utility bills or anything. It sounds like The Cooperative Bank is willing to help (heh), will see after our appt tomorrow.

  6. #6
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    Hi Juniper. Not having a permanent address can be a challenge. The folks we initially rented from the first few months we were there set us up with a local post office box even before we arrived (yes, we were pleasantly surprised, but those are Kiwis for you ) . The home we rented had its own street address and mailbox as well, so even before we arrived we were able to use that info to establish ourselves. We stayed there for several months and although the owners paid for utilities as I recall we set up ADSL and satellite TV accounts which we used as "proof" that we lived there. Of course that wouldn't work for folks staying in various places for a few weeks at a time.


    There are also "mail forwarding" businesses in NZ similar to the UPS Stores that will allow you to have a faux street address as well. You can receive mail which they forward once-a-week or even daily if you like...for a fee of course. That might be another option.


    Have a great time and safe travels!

  7. #7
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    We finally managed to open a bank account today. Most of the banks had a problem with the fact that we were on a visitor's visa for only 6 months (one bank said a 12 month one would be ok, such as those from Commonwealth countries can get). Those that were fine with the visa, by and large, didn't like the "holiday home" proof of address letter from the property manager. Even the library made us get a "visitor" account instead of a free one.

    However Nelson Building Society was ok with all that, and I talked to someone as ANZ that also was fine with it. It seems to depend partially on bank policy and partially who you happen to talk to. One lady insisted the bank would lose their license if she accepted our proof. Whatever, we did the legwork and it finally happened. We are kind of a special case since we don't even have a real home address overseas, or we could have set something up as a migrant using our old proof of address, according to BNZ.

    I will cross-post this in "Things I would have done differently," heh...

  8. #8
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    That's great news Juniper! Please keep us posted about your adventures.

  9. #9
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    It's already our last week in Nelson! Hard to believe, as we got to feel quite settled. The kids made friends, and I even found a group of gals that took me out dancing. We actually know enough people for a goodbye party, and we hope to be back.

    For now, we are planning a few more stops on the way to our next 2 month rental in New Plymouth! We quite liked the area when we spent a weekend there, and it's on our shortlist.

    In the spirit of the original post, helpful info I can provide is to look for people traveling and in need of pet care. There are petsitting websites you can register with, although it might be a bit of a process. It can be FREE though, or very low cost, if you go to the trouble of establishing yourself as a trustworthy petsitter.

    TradeMe actually worked out for us. I had it set to email me whenever something matching my criteria came up, and luckily after a few weeks in Nelson, someone in New Plymouth posted a nice house with a cat. They were heading overseas for 3 months, and wanted to rent short term to someone who liked cats. The animal care is actually a bonus for us, as we miss having pets. The cost is about in line with what one would expect to pay for a similar home in a similar neighborhood, so the cat care doesn't make it cheaper in this case, but the short term nature made it a great choice. Perfect timing is certainly an element here, but the TradeMe alerts were great. Once we were in one accommodation and looking for the next, we had time to line up something far cheaper than the off-season holiday home.
    Last edited by Juniper; 30th April 2018 at 10:52 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juniper View Post
    It's already our last week in Nelson! Hard to believe, as we got to feel quite settled. The kids made friends, and I even found a group of gals that took me out dancing. We actually know enough people for a goodbye party, and we hope to be back. <snip>
    How awesome for you guys!

    If you have a moment, a quick summary of what you liked/disliked about Nelson would be terrific. Anything you'd do differently, etc.?

    Thanks so much for keeping everyone here up-to-date...it's truly of value and really appreciated. We'll look forward to hearing about your next adventure.

    Safe travels!

    Rich

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