For more than three-quarters of South Africa, renting a home is the answer to their residential needs. Many tenants, though, are falling into the cracks of the rental market due to their over-eagerness.
In your hunt for the rental that meets your needs, don’t lose sight of what those needs are. If you’re looking for a home, a place to live in and not just a roof over your head, remember to get the lay of the land. Enquire about your neighbours, find out whether pets are allowed (equally important for those who love animals and those who can’t stand them), make sure there’s a park close by for your little one – think about your needs beyond the four walls of the property. Every tenant’s needs differ, so make sure you look for the property that’s right for you.
While property laws do their best to keep tenants safe from exploitation, the tenant is still responsible for keeping themselves safe as well. Renting a property is a two-way street (remember, your landlord is trusting you with their investment) so it’s best to make sure who needs to pay for what. Completing a property inspection with the landlord or agent and making sure that the contract states that the landlord will be responsible for keeping the property liveable, will improve your stay by keeping the property in its best shape while maintaining the value of the investment.
What may be the pièce de résistance of the perfect renting experience is the tenant making it the perfect renting experience. While you should keep the owner of the property in mind, making sure you look after something you are technically just borrowing, making the most of your living environment comes down to your input more than you may think. Put effort, time and some money into making the property your property.
When you have found the property that was built brick by brick just for you, you must still consider the price before you make any decisions. Adjusting your lifestyle to help you afford your dream home is always an option. However, it could prove to be a lot easier to make your dream home out of your second option over time than it will be to change the way of life you’ve grown used to over the years. While more and more people speculate over exactly how much is safe to spend on rent (“Should I really just spend 30% of my income on housing?” I hear you asking), your lifestyle may prove to be a greater deciding factor than your payslip.
Above all, take your time and make sure you enjoy it.