The rental market is a cut-throat sector of the real estate market that waits for nobody.
According to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, first-time renters need to be fully prepared before they even start the process of looking for a place to rent in order to avoid the disappointment of losing out on their ideal property.
"In most cases, there is a shortage of properties available for rent, and an abundance of those seeking out a rental. Consumers need to be prepared to sign the contract the very same day as they come to view the property if they want to make sure another renter does not snatch it up before they do,” says Goslett.
Industry expert and Rent Express Office Manager at RE/MAX Independent Properties operating in Lorraine in the Eastern Cape, Jenny Ward, shares her step-by-step advice for first-time renters:
Step 1: Know what you qualify for
According to Ward, the worst thing a renter can do is to look for homes before knowing what they can afford. The rule of thumb is that a renter needs to earn three-times the monthly rental amount. Not every rental will apply this rule as strictly, but it is safer to keep your search as close within this price bracket as possible if you want to avoid disappointment.
Step 2: Check your credit score
Tenants need to have a good credit record before they can apply for a rental - this can be anything from a cell phone contract to a store account. It is vital that you keep your credit record clean by making sure you pay the instalments timeously each month. Consumers can obtain an annual free credit report from the credit bureaus within the country to check their credit record for any inaccuracies before applying for a rental.
Step 3: Get your documents in order
“When going to view a rental property, make sure you have a copy of your latest payslip, last three months’ bank statements, as well as a copy of your ID readily available. If you like the property, ask the agent for the rental application before you leave and make sure to send the completed form, along with the required documents already mentioned, back to the agent that same day,” says Ward.
Step 4: Pay the deposit
In order to secure the property, Ward advises consumers to pay the deposit as soon as the application has been approved. “Make sure you have enough saved for a deposit before you get your hopes set on a property. The deposit is normally around two months’ rent upfront, and there can also sometimes be a nominal admin fee charged by the rental agents,” she adds.
“Renting your first property is an exciting experience that can also be very stressful and overwhelming if you are not prepared for what it entails. The best advice would be for tenants to seek out a reputable agent who can guide them through the process,” says Ward.