How to Avoid the Pitfalls of ‘Distance Rental’

Private Property South Africa
Private Property Reporter

The property market is still showing signs of weakness and now might not be the best time to sell your house or flat. But what if you have found a job in another city or a great opportunity to work overseas and you have recently bought a property? Should you try to sell it despite the current economic conditions that might not be in your favour? Or should you post an ad for a flat to rent on your property website of choice? You might be in a situation where you need to sell the property in order to buy yourself a new one. If that is not the case and you are positive that you will not be able to sell the property for a reasonable price, consider utilising the rental market for a year or two until the property market has stabilised and you will be able to sell the property for a better price. It might be a good idea to approach an independent property consultant or knowledgeable person for some advice. A property valuator will also be able to provide you with a good estimate of a reasonable selling price. The rental market is an excellent way of earning an extra income and buying time for the property market to recover. However, to try and manage the process from another city or continent can be somewhat challenging. While there are numerous estate agents available to supervise the process on your behalf, take the time to consider your options. Some rental agencies may absorb a considerable amount of your rent as agency fees. There are also some individuals that come highly recommended and that will take care of the rental process on your behalf. Ask friends or colleagues if they know someone that they can vouch for. In your absence the rental agent will make sure that the flat to rent is clean and that the necessary rental advertisements are published in the newspaper or posted on a reliable property website. The rental agent will also liaise with prospective tenants, arrange a suitable viewing time and make sure that all the documentation is in order. It is of utmost importance that the rental agent should check the prospective tenant’s credit record. This will be an indication that the tenant pays his or her accounts on time and that there will probably not be any late or insufficient payments. The rental agent will also take care of water and electricity bills, body corporate fees and levies of the flat to rent and will act as a contact person in case of an emergency – for example when the geyser suddenly develops problems. This person will also be responsible to transfer the rental payments to your account. Hiring a reputable and trustworthy person to take care of the flat to rent is a simple way of ensuring that your investment is managed efficiently and that problems are taken care of in your absence. Make sure that you are kept in the loop – for example when a new tenant moves in or when damages need to be repaired.

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