select
|

Moving to the city next year? Here’s how to find a great apartment

You just have to look at the vibrant Maboneng and Braamfontein precincts in Johannesburg or the City Bowl in Cape Town to see how the rising demand for centrally-located accommodation is speeding up the revitalisation of SA’s big cities.
 
“As well as those moving to the cities from country towns and villages, thousands of people - most of them young but some of them in their 50s and 60s - are now moving from the suburbs and former townships to rental apartments in the CBDs and inner city areas,” says Greg Harris, CEO of Chas Everitt Property Rentals.
 
“A major reason for this migration is obviously to cut down on the time and money they would otherwise spend commuting to jobs in the city, but another big driver is the desire to enjoy a 21st century, new-urban lifestyle, with places of work and study, food and clothing shops, restaurants, health clubs, galleries, theatres and nightspots all just a comfortable walk away from the front door.
 
“And as demand rises, more and more business owners and service providers are finding that there is a great living to be made, as well as a great life to be lived, in the city centres, with the result that whole areas are not only being re-populated, but also cleaned-up, improved and turned back into the thriving, lively, mixed-used precincts that they used to be.”
 
Harris says that finding an apartment close to a public transport hub like a Gautrain station or a Bus Rapid Transport stop is also important to an increasing number of young city residents, and that in this they are following the lead of their US counterparts, according to the latest national housing survey by the Urban Land Institute.
 
“It is also interesting that in this poll, 62% of the Millennial generation people who responded said they would also prefer to live in mixed-use developments – that is, new or redeveloped buildings that house shops, restaurants and offices as well as their apartments. This is an increasingly common occurrence in New York, London, Paris and other old city centres around the world, and now also appears to be a growing trend in the CBDs of SA’s bigger cities.”
 
However, while living above your local supermarket or fast-food outlet can be wonderfully convenient, mixing businesses with residential units can also be problematic if the buildings are not well-managed. For this reason, you should try always to rent in a complex with a professional and reputable managing agent that has things under control.
 
He says an ideal situation would probably be to live above offices, banks or retail businesses that have regular operating hours, security and minimal noise. However, that’s not always possible, and when the apartment they like is located elsewhere, potential tenants should make sure they do the following before signing a lease:
 
*Double-check the opening and closing times of any businesses below the apartment to prevent any clashes with your sleeping schedule. It’s no fun to be stuck in an apartment above a restaurant or bar with loud music, or a bakery which fires up its ovens at 4am. Additionally, pay attention to businesses in the area that might require lots of parking or foot traffic at night, which could add to the street noise when you are trying to sleep.
 
*Ask about how the maintenance and utilities payments for the building are allocated. Residential tenants should not be subsidising the commercial tenants in any way and individual water and prepaid electricity meters for each flat are best.

*Take notice of any smells that vent through the building or come through the windows. Not all restaurants or businesses have the correct ventilation or odour control systems, and while the smell of coffee or baking bread might not bother you, the fumes from the drycleaner downstairs might be an entirely matter.

*Find out about waste disposal. Does the restaurant or supermarket downstairs dispose of waste in an alley at the back of the building? This can present health and sanitation issues, increasing the risk that the building could have vermin. Ideally, mixed-use buildings should have separate trash rooms for residents, and more frequent rubbish collection to avoid trash piling up.

“As a first-time tenant new to the city,” Harris says, “you need to remember that you will be paying a large part of your earnings for your accommodation, and that you don’t have to take the first apartment that you view. Although you do need to be realistic about what you can afford, you should also make sure that you are getting the best value for your money - and a good managing agent from a reputable company like Chas Everitt Property Rentals will be happy to show you several possible options.”


  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
  
2000
Characters remaining


    Latest Property News
    • 22 May 2018
      Extreme weather appears to be the new normal, evident by the volume of insurance-related disputes reaching the industry watchdog’s desk. To avoid a situation in which your insurer refuses to pay up, you should proactively ensure that your home is well-maintained and ready for whatever winter has in store.
    • 22 May 2018
      As the impact of technology on the real estate industry becomes more significant, it is clear that there is a need for an objective look at not only traditional real estate models but also online and other alternative low-commission real estate agencies, to examine what they offer and what their impact might be.
    • 22 May 2018
      According to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, dealing with some sort of neighbour dispute is an unavoidable part of life unless, perhaps, you choose to live on a remote small holding for the rest of your life.
    • 22 May 2018
      Buyers feel that they are getting value for money in the Northcliff area without having to compromise on aesthetics and amenities
    • 21 May 2018
      Secure living is one of the growing property trends in South Africa and Nooitgedacht Estate in Stellenbosch certainly ticks the right boxes for buyers who want a secure, exclusive lifestyle in one of the Boland’s most sought-after estates, says Pam Golding Properties.
    • 21 May 2018
      With sectional titles growing in popularity, an increasing amount of homeowners simply do not have the garden space to install a tool shed in their backyard.
    • 18 May 2018
      Home improvements are a great way to add value to your property, but not all of us have bottomless pockets for a full-on renovation. Lucky for us, there are plenty of affordable DIYs that can spruce things up over a free weekend.
    • 18 May 2018
      The need for large office spaces is slowly eroding as more and more employers choose to allow their staff to work remotely. As a result, the home business model has grown in popularity, with many new entrepreneurs choosing to start their business from home rather than in a business district. But, what are the legal implications of operating a business in a residential area?
        
    X
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Name  
    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    select
    X
    Share this Page

       
    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    About
    Connect with us
    FEEDBACK