In recent times the Western Cape has become the area to stay in. With the spectacular sea view or the beauty of the Karoo surrounding you, a bustling culture that will immerse you, international business opportunities around every corner, and more history than you’re likely to remember in a week, the Western Cape is the place you want to be. But renting a property is not something to get into lightly. You don’t want to be stuck in a rental agreement, property or area that will cause you to miss out on everything the Western Cape has to offer.
Location, location, location. The area you live in will contribute as much to your living standards as the actual walls around you. A small apartment in a neighbourhood that suits your needs will be preferable to a mansion that’s surrounded by an area you can’t bare living in. The Blouberg area, known for its kite-surfing destinations, is quickly becoming a self-contained little paradise for some, offering its residents everything from beaches and shops to a Curro school, meaning they rarely have to go too far to get everything they need. With rental prices for a 2-bedroom apartment averaging at around R9 000, this beautiful area is somewhat more affordable than the Atlantic Seaboard’s average of R10 500 for the same size property.
For those not wanting to stay in the middle of a metropolitan city, Muizenberg may be just the thing. The perfect location for surfing, kayaking and yachting, this town offers its residents little shops, cafés and diners that will leave them feeling like they are on holiday year-round. Another smaller option is Strand and Somerset West. Here you’ll find all the beauty that makes the Atlantic Seaboard so attractive, without the business bustle and traffic. There’s something for everyone in these Boland locations, with a broad appeal for the whole family. The prices of these smaller towns average at between R6 000 and R7 000 for a 2-bedroom apartment, coming in at a reasonably lower rate than their counterparts.
Once the perfect location is decided on and a property catches your eye, there are a few things to consider and ask about before you jump into any decisions. It is important to understand who will be responsible for what parts of maintenance in the unit. You don’t want to grow irritated with your landlord for not mowing the lawn when it was your responsibility all along. Knowing which modifications you’re allowed to make while making your new home “yours” is also important – can you put up a shelf or hammer in a nail to hang a portrait, for instance. Knowing the rules of the property or complex can also help you avoid getting into unnecessary difficulties later on.
Now, as obvious as it may seem, it is important to have a rental agreement drawn up in writing, stipulating rules, responsibilities, all the up-front costs involved with you renting the apartment and who exactly are allowed to live with you. The latter is mostly regarding what pets are allowed at the property, but in some instances, landlords stipulate that the property is not child-friendly – something that needs to be taken into consideration for young couples. Although verbal agreements are binding according to law, proving exactly what was agreed upon may be difficult.
Lastly, you need to ask yourself: Can I afford this? Getting yourself into debt or altering your lifestyle beyond what you’re comfortable with will also spoil your new property experience. Make sure you understand which utilities are included with your rental amount and which have to be paid extra to avoid your budget being thrown entirely into disarray after your first month’s bill.
Renting a new home can be a wonderful experience if you do it carefully. Make yourself a checklist, do your research and go get your newest home!