Tips for renting out your home this festive season

Nov 23, 2017 6:20:56 PM Share this:

The festive season is fast approaching and economic activity and consumer spending typically spikes during this time. Many take leave during December, especially due to the relative warm holiday weather across the country.

Gray says renting out your property over this period to tourists can be a great source of secondary investment income, as well as a way to ensure your home does not stand empty while you're away.

Besides local travellers flocking to their favourite destinations, Richard Gray, Harcourts Africa Chief Executive Officer, says South Africa is a premier holiday spot for international holidaymakers too.

Due to the high demand, popular lodges, hotels, guesthouses, and so forth are usually fully booked months in advance.

“This is where renting out your property over this period to tourists can be a great source of secondary investment income, as well as a way to ensure your home does not stand empty while you're away,” says Gray.

If you're thinking of letting out your home during this season here are few things to consider:

Firstly, it is imperative you get in touch with a rental specialist agent in your area that understands the market well. Not only will this agent be able to provide you with an accurate valuation of potential rental income, but also be able to manage your tenant requirements. This process can often be a dissuading factor for home owners not wanting to deal with the hassle of vetting potential tenants, as well as getting all the legalities in order. A rental agent will have all the necessary experience and training to assist greatly when exploring this option.

Secondly, the sooner the better. People tend to make holiday arrangements long in advance, and it is always better to step into the market whilst your potential tenants are deciding on accommodation. You don't want to go through all the processes of letting out your home only to find it was too late and with your potential target market being dramatically reduced.

Lastly, letting strangers into your house remains a risk. Take all the necessary safety precautions to ensure your investment is protected. If you have a safe on the property, make sure accessibility is strictly reduced. Also, if you have any items of a high value, rather lock them away in the safe or acquire a safety box off site for the duration of the tenancy.

“There are a lot more aspects to consider, that is why step one is so important. Partner with professionals, and you'll be surprised at the return on investment potential,” says Gray.

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Topics: Renting, Property Tips, Harcourts South Africa, Festive Season Tips, Real Estate Agents, holiday rentals


May 1, 2017 8:00:00 PM Share this:

While relaxing and enjoying good times at your favourite holiday location, you stroll past the local real estate agent’s window and browse the offerings.
Imagine, staying regularly or living in the same place where you have so many great memories. Imagine owning a property where time seems to stand still, and where enjoyment is the longest lasting impression.
For many people, buying an investment property in their favourite holiday destination presents a double dose of benefits – the chance to regularly enjoy the best of holidays and build wealth at the same time. Such a property can also represent the ideal retirement destination, or somewhere to treat family and friends with affordable holidays in the meantime.

While buying a holiday property seems a glittering prize, what are the key considerations before taking the plunge?

Make sure you really like the location
The first and highest priority is to know that you absolutely adore the location of your vacation property, and will be happy to adopt the area as your home-away-from home. Gaining such an understanding is only possible by spending considerable time at the location, not just a weekend. It may require you staying for several weeks or longer to fully appreciate whether the location is going to stand the test of time. If you love snow skiing, are the ski fields to a standard that will bring you enjoyment year after year? If you love fishing, will the location provide a happy fishing experience for you, year-in year-out?
As opposed to staying at a resort or timeshare, buying a holiday property is a long-term commitment, and you cannot just move to the next location if you become weary of the location or property. Easy accessibility should also be considered. If the thought of catching two flights, or driving 1000 kilometres every time you want to take a holiday seems overwhelming, then you may wish to consider something closer to your first home.

Know all the costs
A vacation property is the same as any other property investment – you need to factor in all the costs involved, whether rates, electricity, maintenance, property management and all other overheads involved. A dream vacation property can quickly become a nightmare if your holding costs exceed your budget. In many principalities, the government treat investing in holiday apartments differently than straight-up investment properties, so tax is also an important consideration when crunching the numbers.

Management of property
It is likely that you will only spend a few weeks a year at a holiday property, so what happens for the rest of the year in your absence? A good property manager will not only ensure that ongoing maintenance issues are attended to quickly and effectively, but to maximise cash flow from rentals, will also work to ensure that the property is consistently occupied and cleaned while you are not there. Engaging a property manager to undertake ongoing maintenance is so important, as the last thing you want to do on your holidays is to spend them repairing.

Due diligence on important indicators
If you can create more wealth at the same time as enjoying the benefits of a vacation property, then you have achieved two goals at once, but this will not happen by accident. Before buying a vacation property, make sure it has the capacity to attract enough holidaymakers to make the investment viable. Ask local agents about the average rental yield in the area, average rents for similar properties and occupancy rates, which can often be lower and more volatile in holiday locations. Most holiday destinations experience “high seasons” when rent prices can be increased to accommodate increased demand. If this season clashes with your preferred holiday times, you may have to forgo earning higher rents for your own enjoyment, and this should be factored into your calculations.

Take security seriously
If it is likely that your vacation property will be left unattended for weeks or months on end, to protect your investment it is crucial to consider security.
Depending on the location and type of property, this could take the form of contracting a security firm to patrol the property regularly, or installing security and alarm systems. Perhaps it could mean undertaking certain renovations, such as installing bars on windows or more secure doors.

In the end, you need to be clear of your priority when buying a holiday property. Is your first priority to buy a holiday property, or to build wealth through the purchase of an investment property. Your priority will inform your purchase.
When it comes to buying in pristine tourism destinations, it is so easy for the heart to rule the head, so before you jump in, make sure you are clear about your priorities, think long term, and know that the numbers stack up.

The post Five things to consider before buying a holiday property appeared first on Harcourts International.

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Topics: Investment Property, Holiday Home, Festive Season Tips

Tips for keeping the house safe this holiday season

Nov 30, 2016 12:04:23 AM Share this:
Whether you’re holidaying on the other side of the world or simply at the beach down the road, if you’re leaving your home for the annual summer break, it can mean there is an increased risk your home will become a target for thieves.

The good news is, there are a few tips and tricks you can use which can make a huge difference in protecting your most valuable asset and safeguarding your home against thieves this summer holiday season:

Double check the locks
Check your homes existing locks and if necessary refit new ones, such as deadlocks and bolts, on doors and windows.

Make a list of valuables
Keep an up-to-date list of any valuables such as jewellery, antiques, electronics and artwork. Take a photo of each item to keep on file and ensure your insurance company also has a copy.

Keep keys in a safe place
Don’t leave house keys hidden outside, as experienced thieves will know where to look. Instead, leave a set of keys with your Realtor at Harcourts. (No charges and easy for people to collect if needed). Lock away garden tools and ladders as they could potentially help a would-be thief to gain access to your home.

Make the home look lived in
Use automatic timer switches for lamps, TVs or stereos to come on then turn off each night.

Arrange to have your letterbox emptied daily. Nothing is a bigger signal to thieves than an overflowing letterbox, or newspapers piling up on the lawn.

For longer holiday breaks, arrange to have the lawn mown and the house aired with windows opened occasionally (whilst someone is at the house), so it’s apparent someone is either living in or visiting the home regularly.

Don’t leave a message on your phone indicating that you are away and be careful not to mention the duration of your trip on social media. Recent research has shown that thieves canvas social media to try and identify people who may be away and to locate their address.

If possible, ask a trusted friend or family member to be your house sitter.

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Topics: Safety, Festive Season Tips