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Guide to Renting vs Buying in South Africa

The debate is on - renting vs buying in South Africa has taken on new meaning. Find out which is best for you.
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Guide to Renting vs Buying in South Africa

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Recently a friend of mine approached me on whether she should be renting or buying in South Africa. While chatting about her options, I soon realised that there must be so many people out there in a similar situation. It became apparent to me that there is so much uncertainty around the property market, it's easy to see why so many South Africans are wondering about buying or renting.

In this guide, I'll take you through some of the pros and cons of both renting and buying in South Africa so you can make an informed decision about what's best for you.

The Great Homeownership Debate: To Buy or Not to Buy

Being a homeowner has a lot of plus points, not only does it come with a sense of success and achievement, but the stability it offers in the long term is a massive comfort.

This is a huge consideration, especially for those with a strong vision for their future. A home to call your own (literally), is more than just a property. It's where you will plant your roots, raise your family, and create countless memories.

Sentiment aside, being a homeowner also gives you more freedom to alter the property. By making your space your own, doing improvements, remodelling and upgrading, and also garden landscaping, this will definitely add huge value to your original investment.

For many of us, it will be one of the biggest decisions we make in our lifetime. And with that in mind, also your most important asset.

Is Owning a Home For Everyone?

In the past, owning real estate was one of the important boxes that needed to be ticked, but with today's demanding lifestyles (or wanderlust), would it not be a better option to have the flexibility of renting?

If you are more of a rolling stone, renting might be the way to go - giving you certain key benefits. Like not being tied down to a lifetime commitment just yet.

First time home buyers have a steep learning curve ahead of them, and it's important to know how to navigate your way around buying a home.

 
 
 
 
 
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Consider Your Options

When looking at buying or renting in South Africa, it’s important to consider your lifestyle, personal goals and ultimately your financial situation. Both require a regular income, and being able to afford the regular payments, as well as all the additional costs involved.

Owning a home would definitely require a degree of effort to maintain, whereas renting would take that pressure off, as the landlord would hold that responsibility. But renting is not always as simple as it seems, and owning isn't always the answer.

Check out our Complete Guide to Buying in South Africa - we've made sure you know exactly what you're in for.

Let's highlight some of the differences between renting and buying:

The Renting Rollercoaster: Renting a Home

Flexibility

Renting doesn't mean you're simply funding someone else's mortgage. Within a far smaller budget, you can life a better lifestyle, choose your ideal location, decide on the type of place to suit your family or personal needs, and it gives you the flexibility of being able to uproot and move away, should your lifestyle or employment opportunities change. It’s often well worth the flexibility and value for money.

Less Admin

So you would be free to relocate from home to home, and area to area once your lease expires! Also, it would not be your responsibility to maintain the property, as that would fall on the onus of the owner. So no unexpected costs would allow you to budget on a fixed monthly rental cost.

Affordability and Location

Should you be a young professional, you may prefer the lifestyle and career opportunities that inner city locations provide. These locations may be expensive to own, but renting would give you that perfect location. There is a huge demand for rental properties and with that there are so many platforms to search for that perfect home.

Financial Stability

You would also be in a great budgeting position of knowing exactly what your monthly expenses would be, and depending on your rental agreement, you would not have the headaches of routine or unplanned maintenance or interest rate hikes.

Responsibilities - Yes, there are some!

As a renter, you would have certain responsibilities, according to your rental agreement, to uphold the state of the property, and keep it in the same condition as when you acquired it. Should your lease agreement draw to a close, a new monthly rate would be negotiated, and you would then have the choice to stay or move on. So flexibility plays a huge role here.

Drawbacks of Renting

However, if your landlord decided to sell the property, or give you notice to terminate your lease, this would essentially ‘put you out on the street’.

So the uncertainty of not knowing how long you can remain in the home, would be a downside to renting, as well as regular home inspection checks by your landlord.

Pets (or should we say "No Pets")

Pets and renting are two words that don't string together well in the current rental market. As one Facebook User from the Helderberg area in Cape Town put it, "I can't believe that the prices and rules and regulations of people owning properties are not the same as what they claim to be. FOR ANIMALS."

Expect to pay a higher rental fee or a special deposit to cover any possible damage. If you'd like to avoid this, buying might be the best option.

Renting with pets

The Homeownership Highway | Buying a Home

Even considering all the costs involved with owning a home, buying a house is still an attractive financial proposition for many.

Tax and Financial Benefits

There are certain tax benefits, and other perks with your bond repayment, like securing a fixed inflationary increment to safeguard you from unpredictable interest hikes.

This would require some investigating, as to what the different banks and institutions would offer. There are also some very attractive home loan packages for first time buyers to think about.

Having a home loan broker is a great way of getting the best deal - and the best part is that it doesn’t cost you anything. It’s a whole lot of value at no cost to you.

Control and Freedom

When you own your own home, you have the freedom to make changes to the property as you see fit, without needing to seek approval from a landlord. You also have control over your living space and can create a home that reflects your personality and lifestyle.

Stability and Security

Owning a home can provide a sense of stability and security, as you don't have to worry about fluctuations in rent prices or the possibility of being forced to move when a lease ends. Homeownership can also be a valuable asset that you can pass down to future generations.

Lasting Value

Having the right address, in other words your location, is vital to ensuring your investment stays solid. And as the years go by, and your mortgage years get less, the home will become your own. Freeing up some extra cash to spend on another investment or a holiday treat.

Just be careful to look out for lasting trends that will lead to growth in your investment, instead of fleeting ones that will see you selling in a year or two. We recently did interviews with the top real estate minds in South Africa, and you can see their predictions for the top real estate trends in South Africa to help guide you.

Pride of Ownership

Owning your own home can give you a sense of pride and accomplishment, as it is a major life milestone and a symbol of your hard work and dedication.

Community and Connection

When you own a home, you become part of a community of homeowners who share similar experiences and values. This can provide a sense of connection and belonging, as well as opportunities for socialization and support.

Privacy

Owning your own home can provide greater privacy and security than renting, as you don't have to worry about other tenants or landlords accessing your property without your permission.

The Bottom Line | Renting vs Buying in South Africa

In the end, the decision to rent or buy comes down to your personal situation. Do you have money for a sizable deposit for a home, remembering that there would also be transfer costs and other legal fees involved? Is there a chance of relocating in the future, and would it be a consideration to perhaps rent for a while in a few areas before you are ready to settle more permanently?

If you’re considering buying - Do you want to plant your roots, thinking about starting a family, targeting a specific school or being closer to family might mean you are ready to buy? You’ll want to evaluate the real estate market before deciding, checking out the best locations, schools and amenities.

Or does renting seem like the better option so that you have the flexibility to move around as your lifestyle and career opportunities change. Either way, you have the security of having a roof over your head and a place to stay.

Ready to Move? Let Us Help!

At the end of the day, buying or renting boils down to a very personal decision. One that is not just anchored on finances, but also an emotional and personal one too. Based on the information you have, the choice is yours alone to make.

When you're ready to move to your new place, Wise Move is here to help with your next home move.

As experts in the moving industry, we offer the best service, flexibility and prices. 

Ready to move?

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