Rental Properties & How To Avoid Common Mistakes
Rental properties: Avoiding common mistakes when choosing a new home
There is a common misconception that all homes for sale or rent in more affluent suburban neighbourhoods offer quality living spaces. For this reason, tenants seeking rental properties might be less attuned to issues within the homes and apartments they view. While renting a home in a more upmarket area will certainly increase your chances of finding your ideal home, there are still pitfalls for which one must remain alert. Whether you are seeking a timeless and minimalistic home with clean, open spaces, or a home of distinction with extravagant furnishings and embellishments, this list will help you steer clear of the wrong rental properties.
Underestimating noise pollution
Unless their prospective property is located directly beside a noisy highway or above a busy city with a booming nightlife, most people do not think to check the noise levels during a property viewing. Take the time to listen to surrounding dogs that bark and whether the neighbours have large families or young children. It also helps to visit the property’s street at different times of the day to determine what traffic and human activity sound like in the area.
Ignoring crime rates
No place in South Africa will ever be 100% exempt from crime, but some areas manage it much better. Wealthier neighbourhoods and security estates often have the most safety measures in place, such as neighbourhood patrols and camera monitoring. When viewing rental properties, find out what crime is like in the neighbourhood and what measures are in place to keep criminals and burglars at bay. Be sure to opt for a home with security features such as electric fencing, barred windows, and alarm systems too.
Forgetting about connectivity
It feels unlikely that well-to-do suburbs would struggle with cell phone reception, but some rental properties are simply not ideally situated. It will help to test out what kind of signal you have throughout the home during the property viewing. You can also ask about what Internet options are available and whether past tenants have had any issues with online connectivity. This is especially important for households with students or professionals who work from home.
Neglecting to research commute times
Living anywhere new introduces a lot of unknowns, and one such factor is how far one will have to travel each day to places such as work or grocery and retail stores. Traffic in a new location is also difficult to predict, so tenants seriously considering a few rental properties should research what peak traffic would look like for them. It is also important to consider activities such as school drop-offs and pick-ups, and how smoothly these would flow.
Steering clear of scammers
First-time renters are especially vulnerable to scammers who advertise rental properties for sale with no intention of seeing the process through. These fraudsters even operate in syndicates and work in affluent neighbourhoods to scam tenants out of large upfront deposits and payments. There are signs for which to watch out, however, such as:
- An agent or owner who asks for money or a deposit without showing you the home first.
- Landlords or agents who refuse to meet, or put off meeting you, while still demanding trust.
- Offers that seem too good to be true, such as incredibly low monthly payments for an extravagant rental.
- Landlords or agents who nag you to transfer money before any contract is signed.
- Landlords or agents who seem to be hiding something or unwilling to give you certain information.
The best way to avoid some of these snags, of course, is to partner with a real estate agency with specialist knowledge of the market. Here at Fine & Country South Africa, our independent expertise and commitment to a seamless agency experience will pair you with great rental properties, hassle-free.