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8 Essential Tips for First-Time Renters in South Africa

By · March 15, 2024
8 Essential Tips for First-Time Renters in South Africa

Renting your first property can be an exciting yet daunting experience. From finding the perfect place to navigating through the legalities, there's a lot to consider and many mistakes to avoid as first-time renters.

To help you embark on this exciting new journey smoothly, here are our top 8 essential tips for first-time renters in South Africa.

1. Consider What You’re Looking For

Before you start your hunt for the perfect rental, take some time to consider what you need and want in your new home. This will make your search a lot easier and faster.

Here are some key factors to consider:

2. Assess Your Budget and Credit Score

Getting your finances in order is essential to renting your first property. Calculate your monthly income and expenses to determine how much you can afford to spend on rent comfortably and if you need to review your budget or reduce your living expenses.

Don’t forget to include all the extra hidden costs that aren’t included in the rental price such as electricity, water, internet, cleaning service, garden service, etc.

Additionally, it’s also a good idea to take a peek at your credit score, as many landlords in South Africa require a good credit history. You can obtain a free credit report from various credit bureaus to ensure you're in good standing before applying for a rental.

Need to boost your credit score? Check out our blog with effective tips for increasing your credit score in no time.

3. Know Where to Look

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Finding the right property can be tricky, but sometimes you have to know where to find the hidden gems.

Some of the best places to search include:

And remember to be on the lookout for rental scams! Be wary of listings that seem too good to be true or landlords who ask for money upfront without allowing you to view the property. Never make payments without signing a lease agreement.

4. Save for the Deposit

Once you’ve found the one, you want to be ready to secure it ASAP. To do this you’re going to need to have your deposit on hand. It’s best to start saving to pay your deposit before the house-hunting process.

In South Africa, a deposit is typically 2 months rent but can range from 1-3 months depending on the landlord.

Remember this deposit is refundable, and if you leave the property in good condition, you’ll receive it all back at the end of your lease agreement which you can then put towards your next deposit.

5. Get Your Documents Together

When applying for a rental, you'll need to provide various documents to the landlord or rental agency. These may include:

  • Proof of income (usually 3 months of income statements or bank statements)

  • Identification documents

  • References from previous landlords

Gather all the necessary paperwork in advance to streamline the application process and increase your chances of securing the perfect property.

6. View the Apartment

Important note: Never rent a property without viewing it in person first!

More often than not, what the property looks like in the photos is not what it looks like in person. Schedule viewings of potential apartments and take the time to inspect the space carefully.

Pay attention to the condition of the property and any maintenance issues such as:

  • Cracks, scratches or stains

  • Water damage and mould

  • The water pressure and temperature by flushing the toilet and trying the taps to see if they work

  • Make sure the windows and blinds close properly and easily

  • Sufficient lighting

  • Working doors and locks

  • Appliances if they come with the rental

  • Signs of pests

  • Safe parking and security

  • Loadshedding-safe energy sources such as solar panels or inverters

  • The neighbourhood

Take note of any existing damages while you’re going through the property to create a snag list. Discuss this with the landlord before moving in so that you can protect yourself from being held responsible and being forced to pay it when you move out.

7. Review the Lease Agreement

Happy with your chosen property? Let’s make it official and sign the lease!

But before you pull out your pen, it’s crucial that you carefully review all the terms and conditions outlined in the contract. Pay attention to details such as:

  • The duration of the lease

  • Rent amount and due date

  • Maintenance responsibilities

  • Cancellation policy

  • Pet policies

  • Any additional fees

If you're unsure about anything, don't hesitate to seek clarification from the landlord, a legal advisor or someone you trust who is an experienced renter.

8. Find an Affordable Moving Service with Wise Move

Find Affordable Moving Service with Wise MoveOnce you've found the perfect rental and signed the lease agreement, it's time to start planning your move. Looking for a trusted, professional and affordable moving service? Wise Move is here to help!

With Wise Move’s moving company platform, you can remove the stress of finding a good, budget-friendly moving service. All you have to do is post your moving request and you’ll be instantly connected with the top local movers near you. Simply, compare quotes and 3000+ reviews to find the perfect moving service to guarantee a smooth move into your first rental!

Get your quote from Wise Move and take one step closer to renting your first property in South Africa.

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