Eight tips for finding your dream rental

The trees are in full bloom and the days are, finally, getting longer and warmer. Yes, spring has sprung! And so has that feeling of a new season and new beginnings.

For those who are renting or looking to rent, springtime is the ideal time to make a move and to start afresh: according to statistics, a higher number of rentals become available during September and October, while the warmer weather makes the house-hunt so much more pleasant.

If you’re looking to find a new lease (as in: that dream rental) on life, make sure you follow these eight tips – that’ll help you find that perfect apartment or house to rent!

1. Figure out what you want

House or apartment hunting might seem like a fun idea, but it can turn into your worst nightmare when you’ve viewed what feels like a hundred places and haven’t been able to find something you like. Instead, make a list of the top three ‘musts’ or ‘non-negotiables’ that the rental should have. It can be anything from good natural light, to two bathrooms, being close to schools or a desirable neighbourhood. This way you can skip viewing homes that don’t meet your preferences.  

2. Determine what you can afford

While we all have ideas of what our dream rental should look like, it’s important to be realistic, especially when it comes to what you can afford. It’s recommended that your monthly rent should not exceed 20% to 30% of your monthly income. To find out what you can reallyafford, draw up a basic budget by subtracting your monthly expenses from your monthly income. Once you know what you have to work with, try to find something that meets it, as well as those non-negotiable wants.

3. Look in the right places

Use reliable channels and sources like and property portals like Private Property to help you find a place – rental agents usually have a large database of available properties that can be cross-matched to your budget and non-negotiable wants. It’s also a good idea to network through friends and family; you never know who might have a good tip for you.

4. Uncover hidden costs

Hurrah, you’ve found a dream space that’s within your budget! But, before you sign and seal the deal, make sure you know about any additional costs that might come your way. Here are a few things to consider and discuss with the landlord or rental agent:  

- What will your deposit be?
- Is water/sewage included in the rent?
- Is there free parking or do you have to rent a bay?
- Are Fibre or ADSL cables installed?
- Are any of these costs included? 

5. Envision it as your home

Let your imagination run wild in your potential new (dream) home: think, about how your furniture would look and fit in the space. More importantly, measure key pieces as well as doors and walls to ensure that everything will fit. So often people fall in love with the space without considering what it would look like once their belongings are in – the last thing you want is to find a perfect home and, then, realise that it doesn’t actually suit you.

6. Get inside information

Finding the right rental home isn’t just about finding the right the house or apartment that’s to let – it’s also all about the neighbourhood. Spend some time driving through the streets and get to know the area better, during the day and at night. 

7. Do an initial check 

Before you even consider signing on the dotted line, make sure the house or apartment suits your practical needs. Things to pay attention to include:

Adequate plumbing points in the kitchen, will both your washing machine and dishwasher fit?
Does the kitchen and living area have enough plug points? 
Will your fridge fit properly in the kitchen?
Is there pre-paid electricity or is it billed? 
Does the shower have adequate water pressure?
These are things you can change fairly easily when buying a home, but when renting, these are things you will have to live with.  

8. Be prepared 

When it comes to rentals, you need to move fast: the good, affordable homes are usually swooped up in hours! It’s always a good idea to make sure you have all the necessary documentation and paperwork ready, long before you start the house-hunt – in case you find the perfect rental on the first look:

- Ask the rental agent or landlord for an application form, and fill it out prior to your viewing,
- Get three months bank statements and/or proof of income (salary slips) printed and certified,
- Make certified copies of your ID,
- Have reference letters from previous landlords ready to show

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 16 Feb 2018
      Whether you own a property in a sectional title complex or are looking to invest in one, the financial standing of the body corporate is the single most important thing that can affect your investment or your buying decision.
    • 15 Feb 2018
      One positive consequence of the financial crash in 2008 was the rise in consumerism, especially in the property market, where buyers have steadily become more knowledgeable and more value conscious.
    • 15 Feb 2018
      While most homeowners will take the agent’s commission into consideration when they are trying to determine what the will get out from the sale of their property, many often forget to factor in the other costs involved in a home sale, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
    • 14 Feb 2018
      The forecast for the national rental market in 2018 remains a mixed bag of good news and bad news. Although rentals are expected to rise slowly as the challenges of home affordability and tighter lending criteria tighten their grip, it’s a double-edged sword as the market also will come under increasing pressure from factors like declining disposable income levels.
    • 14 Feb 2018
      While you may not have intended to place your home on the market, what do you do if you receive an unexpected offer on your home? In areas where demand outweighs the current supply of homes available to buyers, it is not unheard of to have buyers make offers on homes that aren’t on the market, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
    • 14 Feb 2018
      If you are looking to sell your home this year, Debbie Justus-Ferns, divisional manager of Renprop Residential Sales, says that there are five crucial things to do before the ‘for sale’ sign goes up.
    • 01 Feb 2018
      February is the month of love and to celebrate we will be posting about all the things we love this month. Follow the #MyPropertyLoves hashtag to keep up with our favourite things.
    • 01 Feb 2018
      After saving up and months of searching for the right home, applying for a bond and patiently waiting for the keys to the front door, it is finally time to cross the threshold and move into your new home. Now what?
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us