New Year, New Home, New Rental?

Private Property South Africa
Cath Jenkin

If you’re planning to move in 2019, getting yourself rent-ready is important. Here’s how to make yourself the best prospective tenant a landlord could wish for:

Get paperwork ready

Before you even begin scrolling through property listings, get yourself rent-ready. That means ensuring you have certified copies of all important documentation, at the ready, so you can submit your application for that ideal home, immediately. Estate agents and landlords often have varied documentation requests, but making sure you have the expected documents ready can make all the difference.

Documents, done!

Here’s a short list of documents you should have on hand, to submit along with a rental application:
● Certified copy of your Identity Document
● Certified copy of your confirmation of employment
● Three months’ bank statements
● Written references from previous landlords
● A copy of your credit record.

Conduct your own credit check

It’s relatively simple to check your credit record online, and you’re eligible for one free credit report per year. Having a squeaky clean credit record is important, as this tells potential landlords and estate agents just how reliable you are with paying your bills on time. A poor credit record could mean your application to rent that beautiful apartment is declined. Knowing what your credit record looks like, before a potential landlord does, is empowering.

Be moneywise

Now that you’re ready to start house hunting, set your expectations correctly. Don’t overextend yourself financially: if you can’t afford to live in a 5-bedroom mansion, don’t even look at the listings online. Property industry wisdom dictates that you should not spend more than 30% of your income on paying your rental amount. Don’t get tempted into signing a lease you can’t afford, in the hopes that you’ll be earning more money soon. Going big in this way, could end up with you not being able to go home, when you can’t pay the rent.

Save for the deposit

Of course, all things being well, you’ll get your rental deposit back once you’ve moved out of your previous home and your landlord is satisfied. But, while you’re house hunting, you need to have a rental deposit at the ready, so you can quickly secure your new home. Ideally, you should have saved enough for the rental deposit and your first month’s rental payment, before you can comfortably apply for that sweet spot you found.

Be a responsible house hunter

You may want a three-bedroom house with a garden and swimming pool, but does your lifestyle match up with needing to maintain this? If you’re a regular lock-up-and-go traveller, this type of home may not suit your needs. Wherever possible, think about how your new home will match up with your current lifestyle. Make sure you know what you and your family need, and work from there.

Read your lease

Once you’ve found your new perfect home, had your application approved, and been given the lease to sign: Stop. Read through the terms and conditions of your lease very carefully, to ensure that you don’t end up with renter’s regret. Body Corporate or Sectional Title rules will also need to be perused, and you’ll need to ensure you and your family abide by them.

Check out your neighbourhood

Before you move in, take a drive through your new neighbourhood, to learn more about the area and its facilities. Join local online groups to find out more about the community you’ll become a part of, and volunteer for community events and similar occasions. Once you’ve made a few friends in the area, you’ll feel a lot more settled, and easily able to ask questions about your new neighbourhood.

For more guidelines and tips on how to be the best tenant, check out our Tenant Advice section.

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