Important tips for first time renters

The time has come to rent your own place! Do you know where to start? We’re here to settle your mind by answering all your questions. Follow this 5 step process and you’ll be living in the perfect place in no time.

Budget first 

Figuring out your budget is simple because you don't have to worry about hidden costs like municipal taxes or insurance. Your landlord takes care of that! You only need a breakdown of how much you can spend on rent, water and lights. 

Once you've figured your budget out, the most important thing is to stick to it! 

  • Tips to remember while you budget

    • Don’t spend more than a third of your monthly net income on rent.

    • Rent prices are area dependent, so browse for places in different suburbs. 

    • If you're renting a flat or apartment, the water is most likely included in the levy, which the landlord is normally responsible for. 

    • Remember your deposit. Usually a deposit is as much as a month's rent, but sometimes it can be up to three months. It all depends on the place. 

    • A furnished property's rent is more expensive, but it can help you as a first time renter because buying all necessary furniture and appliances at once isn't cheap. Consider your financial circumstances and how long you are planning on renting for before you decide. 

Now start looking

You can browse around for a house or flat to rent through agencies or online, but it’s not the only way. Broaden your options by exploring social media, because people advertise property daily. This also makes contacting the owner directly easy.

If you can’t find a place within your budget, consider renting a place that has space for a flat mate . This way you can share costs and save. 

View and choose

It's really important that you go see and compare a few places before deciding to rent because pictures aren't always honest. This also gives you the perfect opportunity to ask the landlord or agent any questions you have. Don’t stop searching until you’re happy with what you get!

Take care of the paperwork

You seal the deal when you sign the contract. But before you do so, read everything carefully, more than once. Question anything you don’t understand and raise issues you disagree with.

  • Five important contract tips

    • Double check the agreement on your deposit.

    • Ask what sort of changes you are allowed to make.

    • Understand the lease period and termination policy.

    • Get a second pair of eyes to read over it with you - preferably someone with experience.

    • Never transfer any money before all contracts have been finalised and signed.

Move in

Now you've got your your own little home and your new life can begin! But hold on, you're not quite done. After the contract has been signed and you're officially a tenant, it's important that you do a few things that will protect you in the long run. 

  • The last checklist

    • Make sure the house or flat has been spring cleaned properly. It is an unwritten rule that this is the landlord’s responsibility.

    • Check that every lock and key are in working order.

    • Ask for photos identifying existing damage and defects. If your landlord or renting agent doesn’t have these, take photos yourself and send it to your landlord as a paper trail for proof.

    • If something gets damaged or breaks after you move in, which you cannot fix yourself, report it to the landlord immediately.

    • Update all necessary profiles (medical aid, your bank etc.) with your new residential address.

Good luck with the move and have a blast at the house warming!

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