If you see anything advertised in a newspaper you should arrange to view it straight away, as the best properties are snapped up quickly. You should never rent anything without viewing it first!
New Zealand landlords and agents are notoriously inventive in their descriptions (although legislation has been introduced to try to curb this) and they can make the shabbiest, most tumbledown ‘villa’ sound like a palace. If you use an agency or estate agent to find a rental property, he will usually charge at least one week’s rent as commission.
It’s possible to arrange to rent a house or flat before you arrive in New Zealand, and several immigration consultants (and even some travel agencies) can arrange rentals for you. Bear in mind that properties obtained through these sources are often more expensive than those obtained locally.
Another drawback of renting from abroad is that it’s difficult to picture a property accurately from thousands of miles away and the location may prove to be inconvenient (although it may look ideal on a map).