RENTING PROPERTY – SOME TIPS

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When it comes to renting, the first thing that pops into some people’s heads is: “Why rent when I can use the same amount of money per month to buy a property?”

Valid as this question may be, the fact of the matter is that not everyone is able to sign up for such a long-term financial commitment, because unless you can see yourself paying for something that’s technically the bank’s property until the very last payment, renting a place is altogether a quicker and more doable fix.

Whether you’re in a relationship and want to take things to the next level to test the waters of compatibility, or simply want to have your own personal space, renting your own place is certainly the right step. It’s also ideal for students or young people who want to explore the realm of independence before the rite of passage that is buying property.

And the best part of it all? You’re not tied down for half of your life with a bank loan.

If you’re lucky enough, you can even negotiate with your landlord on things such as monthly rent, and how long you’d like to stay for. You could also come to some sort of agreement on when or if you might want your rental contract to be renewed on a monthly, half-yearly or even annual basis.

So, let’s get to the crux of the matter. What does this process entail? Essentially, looking for a place to rent is much like looking for a property to buy – headache-wise, that is. It’s not all fine and dandy, because – speaking from experience – the truth is that unless you have a massive budget to play around with, estate agents will rarely take you seriously or bother helping you out. Trust me, this is coming from someone who’s contacted two dozen agents in the meagre span of a couple of months. One thing I’ve learnt from this phase alone is that perseverance is key.

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Once that hurdle’s out of the way, and you’ve managed to get a decent and reliable realtor, there’s the next challenge of finding the right place at the right price, which let me tell you, is not easy. You also need to quickly come to terms with the fact that certain prices are pure and simply daylight robbery, therefore steer away from such ridiculous figures unless you have a money tree in your grandma’s garden.

Next comes finding the right place, which is the denouement of this tortuous chronicle. First, you need to factor in aspects such as the area; whether it’s far from work, university or your kid’s school. Then there’s the financial element. You need to ask yourself questions such as: Is this place real value for money? Do I feel comfortable forking out such an amount for this place? And let’s not forget the issue of space. Do I want a studio apartment, a maisonette or a house? On the one hand, you don’t want to feel like you can barely enter the room because there’s only space for furniture. But on the other hand, you don’t want a massive space that’s a pain in the neck to maintain.

Then there are the significant people with whom you need to build a good relationship, and I’m not talking about the gems that are your neighbours. That Pandora’s box is a surprise to be opened once you’ve settled in. I’m talking about your landlord and lady. I speak of two people, because more often than not, you’ll find a mature couple who have property they want to benefit from by renting it out. I cannot stress enough the significance of having a good and solid relationship with these guys. On a basic level, you’re living in their place, so if you give them attitude or trouble, they have every right to chuck you out, even if it means having to pay you the rental deposit.

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Additionally, there’s also the fact that you have someone who’s there if you need to get some maintenance around the place. Remember, since it’s someone else’s property, it’s the owner who needs to take care of things such as a faulty appliance, a whitewash every so often and perhaps replacing furniture that might need to be revamped. If you have a rocky relationship with the property owners, chances are that  asking them to help you might not be so smooth-sailing and a tad awkward in the long run.

So there you have it, a few essential tips to keep in mind when looking for a place to rent.

If you have your own experiences – good or bad, we’d love to hear about them in the comment section below.