Written by Chris Barkhuizen, Regional Head of Operations at HouseME, Smart Property Rental for Landlords and Tenants.
Reading Time: 3 Minutes
Congratulations! You just purchased your very first investment property and now you’re looking for a reputable rental agency to help you find a good tenant.
Property is often the most treasured and valuable investment for many people, and leaving it in the right hands to manage is of critical importance. How does one go about selecting a rental agency? With so many options for the South African landlord, making this decision is often a daunting task. Are all agencies created equal? Below are a few tips you can employ to scrutinize your rental agent before signing the deal.
10 Questions To Help Assess Your Rental Agent’s Skills
1. Are they from a reputable agency?
You want to lease your property with a company who has a proven track record of successful rental management, and not just a fly-by-night agency with no history. Ask how long they have been in business, read the reviews online, see if they are advertising any other properties on the property marketplaces and ask if they are handling any large or well-known residential portfolios.
2. What’s the commission?
The agent will take a portion of the rental income for their services, and this is almost always negotiable. Most agents will start the conversation at 10%, but this can be brought down to 8% or even 6% for the shrewd negotiator. At this point, HouseME still takes the cake at a very attractive 2.5% of the total lease price, which is charged as a once-off when the first month’s rent is collected.
3. Where will your property be advertised?
Most agencies use the same channels for advertising, which generally consists of Property24, Private Property, Gumtree, Facebook groups and their own newsletters. Ensure you use a rental agency that will give your property the maximum amount of exposure.
4. How will prospective tenants be screened?
Once you have someone interested in renting your property, you want to be sure that they are financially fit enough to honour their rental payment, as well as know that they will look after your investment and take care of it. Ask your rental agent how their vetting is done, what is taken into consideration and if they will call previous landlords for references. This will go a long way to ensure you get a high calibre tenant.
5. Ask your agent what is their rental collection rate?
The rental collection rate of an agency will give you an indication of their vetting standards and the calibre of tenant they feel comfortable placing. Any collection rate lower than 80% should set off alarm bells. In this category, HouseME again rules the roost with a successful collection rate of almost 99% on their tenants that have passed the HouseME vetting!
6. What about maintenance?
Unless property management is your full-time job, you would not want to run around looking for quotes, service providers and cleaners when something inevitably goes wrong at your property. Check what the maintenance services are for your agency and that they can support you in times of need.
7. Do they offer emergency maintenance?
It’s 3 am and the geyser at your property bursts, who is going to deal with it? Standard service providers are offline at this time, so make sure that an emergency maintenance line is made available to your tenant through your agency. HouseME has partnered with GetTOD and offers all tenants 25/7 access to trusted maintenance partners.
8. Will they be doing any property inspections and what are the costs involved?
Property inspections are of vital importance, especially since the Rental Housing Act does not allow you to claim for any damages if there was no in-going inspection. Check with your agent if they will handle the inspections and whether this forms part of your contract or if it’s an added cost.
9. Do they offer any additional products?
As a landlord, you invariably run some risks inherited with renting a property, as is the case with every investment out there. Even tenants with a great income and flawless payment history can be retrenched or involved in an accident, which may have an effect on their ability to pay the rent. Having additional products available like HouseME’s Rental Guarantee and Eviction Cover can save you big money and big headaches when you need it most.
10. Are there different pricing or package options?
You want a rental agency that is flexible enough for your particular needs. Property owners living in a different city will have other requirements than a property owner who lives next door. Maybe you want to host your own viewings and meet every prospective tenant personally, or maybe you don’t want your tenant to know who you are at all. Ask your rental agent about different packages and if they can customize a proposal perfectly suited to your needs.
Choose HouseMe To Help You Along Your Letting Journey
Using an online rental agent like houseME is every landlord’s dream. List your property with us and save yourself some valuable time. We do all the hard work, checks all the boxes while you assured the daunting admin is taken care of by the best specialist in the country.
If you’re ready to start renting smart visit House.ME for more information.
We’d love to hear from you! Comment below and let us know what you thought our post or share your tips with the HouseME community. Or contact us here with any specific questions you have about our property management services.
Ben Shaw is the CEO and Co-founder of Proptech Company, HouseME, Winner of Seedstars World’s Best Start-Up Company in Cape Town.
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HouseME’s Co-Founders, Ben Shaw and Kyle Bradley.
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