How to find the perfect roommate

Sep 2, 2019 10:38:00 PM Share this:

Renting a property can be an expensive business, particularly if you’re single. One of the best way to offset some of the costs is to find a roommate (or two). On paper it sounds great - you’ll have someone to help pay the bills, you’ll have company and the idea of having like-minded people sharing your living space is often exciting. Unfortunately there are downsides too, and there are important questions that need to be asked before you allow a relative stranger to move into your home.

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Topics: Renting, Advice, Harcourts Real Estate

How to be a landlord tenants love with these 5 tips

Jul 8, 2019 8:00:00 AM Share this:

Renting is the smart financial choice for many consumers, but a ‘difficult’ landlord can easily make it feel like the wrong choice, and cause tenants to leave as soon as they possibly can.

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Topics: Renting, Landlords, Harcourts Real Estate, Advice for Landlords

Applying for rental properties: The do’s and dont’s.

Mar 18, 2019 8:00:00 AM Share this:

With rental housing continuing to experience unprecedented occupancy rates, it’s more important than ever to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward when looking and applying for a rental property.

The more prepared you are, the better the chance you will have in ensuring a tenancy agreement can be reached.  

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Topics: Property Management, Renting, Rental Property, Applications

Eight ways to make your rented house a home

Feb 25, 2019 8:00:00 AM Share this:

No matter if you are an owner occupier or renting, we all have an instinctive desire to create an individual space we can call “home”.
Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither is a house transformed into a home in 24 hours. Adding unique, personal touches and arranging furniture and possessions to suit your taste takes time, a commodity that is often a question mark for those who rent.

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Topics: Renting, Advice, Home Tips

Weighing up rent to buy

Aug 20, 2018 9:26:39 PM Share this:

“There are various ways a rent-to-buy option can be structured and equally as many ways that these deals can go awry.”

Rent-to-buy gives cash-strapped homebuyers the option to own a property in the area of their choice however make sure they read the fine print carefully warn property experts. It is also an option for sellers whose properties have been on the market for a while.

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Topics: Renting, Richard Gray, Harcourts South Africa, Tips for buying, Financial Advice, Weighing up rent to buy

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

Where have local rental prices increased most?

Nov 13, 2017 8:00:00 AM Share this:

The latest PayProp rental index for the third quarter of 2017 released recently indicates where rental prices have increased and decreased across the South African property landscape.

We've seen how the state of the economy has influenced consumer confidence and put many of us into price pinch between rising food costs, fuel costs and less disposable income.

The index states that there was a significant drop in rental growth and an increase in inflation in September, the last month of the quarter. As a result, a closing of the gap is evident as rental growth returns to levels closer to inflation growth (last seen in November 2016).

More data released by the index shows that if you compare the year-on-year (YoY) growth rates of Q3 and Q2, you observe that rents are currently growing at a lower pace, and if you consider growth across the provinces, you can see why. Five out of the nine provinces saw a reduction in the rental growth rate while the four provinces showing (modest) increases contribute less than a third to the total weighting of the overall growth. As a result, the weighted average YoY growth rate decreased from 6.9% to 5.9% between Q2 and Q3.

Our experiences are similar to what the index identifies and despite it being a tough year, rental incomes are starting to make the climb back to the top.  There are areas like the Western Cape and Gauteng, even certain markets in regions that appear to be on the decline have somewhat weathered this storm. Taking the Northern Cape for example, as the index shows, clocked YoY growth of 9.3% in Q3, up from a below-average 3.8% a mere six months before.

There are market factors that paint a bleak picture and affordability among consumers has become the result of macroeconomic instability, but the positive in the market, aspects like the rent-to-income ratio on an upward trend, property remains a solid long term investment.

Statement by
Richard Gray
Harcourts Africa Chief Executive Officer
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Topics: Renting, Agent Life, Harcourts South Africa, Rental Price, Rental Market, Real Estate Agents

How to steer clear of rental property scams

Mar 20, 2017 11:16:54 PM Share this:

Searching the internet has become the norm for consumers looking for homes to rent, with classifieds websites recording huge traffic increases in this category over the past few years.

 However, it seems that not a week goes by now without a media report of a potential tenant being scammed out of their deposit and even their first month’s rental by someone who actually did not own the property that was advertised as “to let”. 

And this can of course be financially devastating for consumers, so the rental experts at RentalsDotCom, the rental property management arm of Harcourts Real Estate, have put together the following guidelines to help potential tenants hang on to their hard-earned cash. 

*Be wary of advertisements where the monthly rental quoted is a lot lower than the average for the area in which you are interested.  Remember the old adage that if it seems too good to be true then it probably is. A “bargain” rental is usually indicative of a property in really bad condition – or a “hook” to generate interest among the gullible and inexperienced. 

*Be wary of bogus landlords who send you on a wild goose chase. Such people will typically leave you standing outside a property that is allegedly “to let” while they claim to be stuck in traffic, or held up at the office, or attending to a sick relative, so that they can’t bring you the keys. They will typically also promise that you can have the property and that they will not show it to anyone else if you just pay the deposit “in the meantime”. 

*Another twist on this scam is for the bogus landlord to claim that the property is to let because they are out of the country for several months working or doing charity work, but that if you deposit money to their local account they will mail you the keys, or get a friend to hand them over.  

*Also, you should not be taken in by bogus landlords who say they can’t show you the property right now because their current tenants don’t like to be disturbed, but that you can go and see it from the outside and pay a deposit to secure it if you like the look of it. Typically they will then promise that you can have your deposit back if you change your mind after you see the inside. 

*Where the property address is not provided in the advertisement, ask for it as well as a photograph and double check that it is not listed anywhere else on the Internet as being to let or even for sale. Scammers often hijack information from for sale listings, knowing that in those circumstances a few more people passing by to look at a property from the outside – or “waiting for keys” - are unlikely to make the real owners suspicious.    

*Similarly, if the property is in a block of flats, see if you can find a caretaker who will know if it is genuinely to let, or check with a letting agency that has other flats in the building to let and ask them if they know anything about this one.  If anything seems vague or unclear to you, keep your money and look for another unit.    

*When you are answering an ad from a private landlord, make sure you get their name and ID details as well as their phone number, and look them up on the internet or social media to see if you can find them. For a small fee, you can also search the Deeds Office records or property portals  to see if they are the genuine owner.  You are also quite entitled to ask for proof of ownership. 

*For obvious security reasons, you should never go alone to view a rental property, and never take any cash with you if you are planning to pay a deposit – even if the property is in a safe neighbourhood.  There are many other payment options these days and if the landlord insists on cash, rather arrange a meeting on another day in a convenient public place, and once again take a friend with you.  

*For safety’s sake, you should also always pay the first month’s rent with a credit card, so the payment can be reversed if it turns out that you have been scammed after all.  And when you sign a lease, you should make sure that the address on the lease agrees with the street address or flat number of the property you have viewed. It is not unknown for bogus landlords to get their hands on the keys to an empty property which they can show you, and then put a different address on the lease before taking your money. 

* Lastly, you should be especially careful when renting holiday properties, as these listings are much easier to fake, and scammers know that you can’t view the property before deciding to take it. Ask for detailed information about the property and use Google maps to see if it actually exists. If the property is in a resort or complex, contact the resort or complex management independently and get them to confirm details about the unit and the owner. Be very wary if anyone starts pushing you to make an urgent payment to secure a booking or is vague about the information you require.  Also be careful of people who ask for all your personal details so they can “check your credit record” – they may be running an identity theft scam as well as property scam. 

In short, when renting a property, you should never, ever part with any money or personal information until you have made absolutely certain that the offer is legitimate and you will get what you are paying for. And with so many con artists operating in the real estate field now,  the very best way to do that is always to rent through a reputable letting agency that already has all the paperwork on the property, uses proper lease documentation and will keep your deposit in a proper trust account. 

Statement by
Richard Gray
Harcourts Africa Chief Executive Officer

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Topics: Renting, Harcourts South Africa, Rental Property

Stilbaai market sizzles into summer

Nov 30, 2015 9:43:17 PM Share this:

Stilbaai_Nov_2015.jpgThe property market in Stilbaai on the Cape South Coast is booming as the town continues to attract the attention of real estate investors.

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Topics: Renting, Selling

How to assess your student accommodation options

Oct 21, 2015 8:51:32 PM Share this:

With the matric exams just around the corner and thousands of learners hoping to start university or college next year, this is the time of year that many parents start thinking about where those students are going to live.

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Topics: Property Management, Renting