Rental property on a budget – 8 Not to miss decorating tips

Decor and budgets

You’ve just moved into your new rental property and done your budget to ensure you can cover all your monthly expenses, you know, things like rent, utilities, groceries, medical aid, school fees, and well, the list just goes on and on. 

Halfway between working out your budget and making your grocery list, you look up – only to see those drab, boring walls that just screams rental property. Immediately you start imagining different decorative finishes on the walls, the windows, the floor – there’s colour!  Colour everywhere!  You are so excited now, all you want to do is rush out the door and head straight to the shops to get started on giving your new home a solid personality injection.  All you can think about are all the gorgeous décor items you have seen in shops, and you are just so ready!

But then, you remember the prices.  Those magnificent paintings were a bit overpriced, weren’t they?  Mind you, that rug also looked like something you could get at the flea market for half the price, right?  Now that you really think about it, you saw some really amazing pieces at the flea market just the other day, and they were just, so, you!  Sure some of it looked a bit old but maybe you can do something about that.  Now that you have a plan  you can finally make your new house a home.

There are a multitude of ways in which you could decorate a property on a budget!

From decorating tips to DIY tips the internet is full of crazy and wonderful ideas on how you can decorate your new place on a budget.  Saving you some time because who doesn’t need the extra time while shopping, we have compiled a list of the top 8 decorating on a budget tips for you.

Make it yours

You have personality, and lots of it!  Why not let that flow over to your decorative choices?  Really look for items that show your personality and interests and use them together with other subtler pieces to take your rental from ‘bleh’ to beautiful.

Be thrifty

There are so many unique and awesome pieces of furniture, accessories and décor available if you only know where to look.  Visit some flea markets or thrift stores in your area.  Scout classifieds adverts or even look at Facebook groups that offer second-hand items for sale. Your dream chest of drawers may just be out there waiting for you and all it will need is a new coat of paint or two and perhaps those great handles you saw on discount at that store you were planning on going to anyway.

Think in colour

Nothing livens up a drab like a few splashes of colour.  Think about the colour palette that you would like to use and look for pieces, or even paint them, according to your chosen colour scheme.  Check with your landlord perhaps he would be fine with you painting the walls with a bright shade as long as you mute it down again if you move out.

Store it

Few things are as versatile as space savers and other storage items.  Think a little outside the storage box and see how bookshelves can become an open storage display.  You can even add some patterned wallpaper to the back of the shelves to turn this into a focal piece.  Because you don’t live in your own house it doesn’t mean that you can’t have unique furniture.

Let your light shine

Is there anything better than walking into a perfectly decorated area and the light just catches every piece of the room’s personality, every little detail that just makes it all fit together so seamlessly?  You could upgrade your lighting to match or even accentuate your decorative choices, making your home shine.  Perhaps even consider floor lighting or lamps that fit in with your overall décor theme.

Let nature in

Be super homey and bring some plants inside.  Indoor plants make for a feel-good vibe – you can even consider dedicating a specific space to make a small indoor garden for yourself.  Use window sills for potted herbs or flowers that need specific amounts of sunlight.

Mix and match

There really isn’t any hard and fast rule that says all your couches have to look the same.  Be exciting and buy once off pieces from different sets that match each other or your décor.  Line your couches with different coloured throw pillows or even paint chair legs in a hue that pops.

Mix Texture

Texture really just adds a lot of depth to a room, look at long pile rugs or a throw with different textures for your couch.  Not only will it add a lot to the space around it, it will also make it feel oh so homey.

Decorating your property really doesn’t need to be an expensive exercise, a well thought out strategy in terms of the look and feel you want to go for will take you a long way in choosing the correct items to decorate your new home with., proudly brought to you by the Central Developments Property Group, would love to hear from you! Tell us what you would like to see more of on our blogs or even what tips you have for decorating on a budget.

The Rental Process in Easy Steps

The rental process

You may be a first-time tenant, young professional moving closer to work or even downsizing. Regardless of the reason why you are renting, there is a process that will follow for each tenant. Below we have set that process out for you in easy-to-follow and understand steps to help you navigate rentals easily.

The rental industry is fast-paced and brutal. In a nutshell, know what you want, know when you see it and grab it immediately by being prepared.

The rental process

The Rental Process

It may seem daunting, but with clear steps you can easily navigate this process and settle into your perfect rental home in no time.
Here are the steps you will take toward homely bliss:

View and choose your perfect apartment

We already have an article on house-hunting in the rental market which you can find here. In short:

  • Know in which area you want to live.
  • What can you afford? Remember to consider rent and utilities.
  • How big should it be? How much space do you need?
  • Make a checklist of what your requirements are for your new home.
  • Inspect the property well when viewing it.
  • Take photos so you can compare the properties at home.
  • Have realistic expectations.

Qualify to rent

Would you go to the shop with R10 to buy a R15 bread? Why would you even start looking for a place to rent without knowing what you can afford? Generally you should set aside one third of your net income for rent. Also remember that a good credit record is vital! Do you have a store account or contract for a cell phone? Be sure to pay it on time every month so as not to adversely affect your credit score. Most credit bureaus allow one free credit report per year. Check your credit report and rectify any negative items.

Knowing your credit score and affordability is only the first step in qualifying for a rental. There is also an application process in order to succeed.

  • The paperwork
    • What physical papers do you require for the application?
      • Copy of your ID or passport (have your work permit available if applicable). Sometimes these documents will need to be certified.
      • Proof of income in the form of your latest payslip, or if you are newly employed and don’t have a payslip yet, your employment contract.
      • Last three months’ bank statements.
    • What information is required?
      • Your and your spouse or partner’s personal details.
      • If you are currently renting you may need to supply your current landlord’s details.
      • Your and your spouse or partner’s current employment details.
      • Alternative contact’s details.
  • The process 
    • Credit report. This report verifies:
      • Alternative contact’s details.
      • Your ID, contact details and last listed address.
      • A record of your payment behaviour over the last four years.
      • Judgements against your name.
      • Court payment orders against you.
      • Trace alerts.
    • TPN report. This is done to identify any high-risk tenants. A full tenant lease history check will be done for:
      • Contact details.
      • Any defaults or notices from a previous lease.
    • Affordability check.
    • Confirmation of employment and income.
    • Reference from existing landlord if applicable.
  • Timeframe
    • The application can be completed as quickly as 24 hours or take up to 48 hours.

Pay your deposit

Have your deposit ready before you even start looking for a place. Deposits can reasonably vary between one- and two-months’ rent and are payable upfront. 2LetNow requests a non-refundable R2 500 holding deposit that forms part of the total deposit. If you should cause any damage to the property during your lease, the landlord will deduct the money from your deposit to pay for these repairs. The balance of the deposit may then be returned to you within 14 business days of the repairs being completed.

It is important to note that if you as tenant do not attend the outgoing inspection, legally the landlord or agent has up to 21 days before they have to return your deposit. When the lease agreement comes to an end and there are no problems with the property then your deposit should be returned to you within 14 business days of the end of the lease.

Sign your lease

A gentleman’s agreement won’t help you if the situation gets sticky. A lease agreement is a legally binding contract between the tenant and landlord setting out the rules for various aspects from rent to maintenance obligations.

  • Get a written lease agreement and request a copy of the contract.
  • Make sure the lease indicates all the terms and conditions.
  • Rights and responsibilities of the tenant and landlord. Both parties want the property in top condition, therefore there must be guidelines on how to keep it as such.
    • The landlord’s responsibilities are:
      • Ensure the property is in a reasonable condition and that they are handing over a safe and habitable property to the tenant.
      • Provide the tenant with a written lease agreement.
      • Provide the tenant with a receipt or statement for each payment.
      • If maintenance is required, these repairs need to be done within 14 days unless otherwise agreed with the tenant.
      • Allow fair wear and tear.
      • Unless the damage is caused (deliberately or due to negligence) by the tenant, the maintenance and repair of structural fixtures and fittings like:
        • Roof leaks
        • Replacing geysers
        • Plumbing
        • Electrical problems
    • The tenant is required to keep the property clean and safe. Tenants are responsible for:
      • Paying their rent on time.
      • Using the rental property only for the purpose agreed upon in the lease agreement.
      • Maintenance of the interior of the property.
      • Lightbulbs
      • Taps
      • Locks
      • Handles
      • Broken windows
      • Garden maintenance
    • The lease should also include:
      • Identification of the property to be rented.
      • Identify the parties involved (tenant and landlord).
      • Rental amount.
      • Additional charges.
      • Payment dates and frequency.
      • Note of the deposit that you have to pay.
      • Manner of payment.
      • Lease period.
      • Notice period for termination of the lease.
      • List of defects pertaining to the property.
      • In apartment blocks and estates a list of the complex rules.

Incoming inspection

It is important for both the tenant and the landlord or agent to do an entry inspection. It is also a legal requirement. Through this you can establish, record and agree upon the condition of the property in order to ensure that you are not held responsible for any damage that may have occurred before you moved in. Routine inspections should follow during the course of your lease.

If you do not attend the incoming or outgoing inspection you can’t contest repair fees deducted from your deposit. Similarly, if the landlord or agent doesn’t attend these inspections they cannot deduct repair expenses from your deposit. Both parties must do a thorough inspection together, noting all defects on a checklist, taking photographic evidence and signing this document.

Pay your rent

Rent is paid in advance to your landlord or agent. This is a legal requirement, made binding by signing the lease. The rental housing act has processes in place for landlords if the tenant does not pay on time each month. You cannot withhold rent when you are unhappy with the landlord. This is seen as a breach of contract.

End your lease

  • Ending your lease is subject to 20 business days’ written notice. Once you have indicated your intention to end the lease agreement to your agent or landlord, they will notify you of the timelines and requirements of moving out (like handing back all original keys), do an exit inspection and arrange to pay back your deposit IF the property is still in the same condition as it was upon moving in and all rent is paid to date.
  • The lease is a legally binding contract, protecting you as tenant from situations like a property being sold during your agreement period as well as protecting the landlord from a tenant wanting to break a lease agreement by ending a fixed-term contract early. There is no requirement for a landlord to release a tenant from a contract early. If the lease agreement doesn’t allow for early cancellation, be prepared to pay penalties along with any outstanding rent and utilities. This is not deductible from your deposit.

2LetNow2LetNow Home has highly skilled staff at all our developments who can assist you with the entire rental process. For more information on the ins and outs of rental life, be sure to follow us on Facebook to receive regular blog updates.

Complete Guide to House Hunting What You Need to Know About Picking Out a Rental Home

Finding your perfect rental home

Finding the perfect rental home can become a daunting task.  No matter where your search starts, you will find a host of properties available for you to choose from.  So how do you know which is the perfect home for you?

Rental property deadline

We’ve all been there, that moment where you have spent hours upon hours looking for a great rental property only to realise your deadline and moving-out date are right around the corner and you might soon be homeless if you don’t get your search into high-gear fast.

Regardless of whether you are a student looking for accommodation close to university or even newlyweds looking for your first home together, if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for you might find yourself running in circles without actually finding anything remotely suitable to your needs.

Rental properties are a lot easier to find in our current economic climate, however you will need a comprehensive plan before you commit to any property that might end up not working out for you.  But what can you do to narrow down your search and stop wasting time on unnecessary viewings?

Top 10 tips to find a house to let

When you are looking for a rental, be sure to start your search early enough so that you don’t have to rush the process, have compiled a handy list for you to use.

Property Priority List

  • Know how long you have – knowing when your moving-out date is and how long you have available to find an alternative, will ensure that you know what your deadline is and make you stick within those timelines.
  • Where do you want to go – location is everything, even more so when it comes to a rental. Are you looking to move to another town or province?  Perhaps you will stay in your area but you just want to move closer to work.  Knowing the area you want to live in will help you to narrow your search to only properties within those parameters.
  • The cost of living – Are you moving because you recently received a raise and can afford better? Perhaps your reason for moving is to save some money.  Knowing what your available budget is and what costs you will need to cover monthly.  Check what is included in your rental fee. Are all levies and utilities already included in the price or will some of those be over and above?
  • Size does matter – How much space do you need? Is it just you or are you house-sharing with a friend?  Are you part of a small family that needs a new place to stay?  Knowing how large a space you need is a vital part of finding your next home.
  • Be prepared – Have your plan and deposit ready before you even start your property search. Before even viewing the first option, have all the pieces of the application puzzle ready – copies of identity documents, bank statements, credit reports as well as your deposit.  You never know, the first viewing might be your next home.
  • The gut feel – It’s okay to walk away. If your instincts are not happy with after viewing, then walk away, listen to your gut.
  • Be curious – Inspect the unit, you know what you want, so make sure that the property offers you all those things.
  • Play around – Measure key pieces of furniture and take those measurements with you when viewing. Play around with placement ideas to ensure that your furniture will actually fit into the available space.
  • Neighbourhood – If you don’t know the are very well, it is worth looking into finding out about things like public transport routes, crime rate, grocery stores, hospitals and schools.
  • More than words – Every agreement between you and the landlord should be in writing, regardless of whether it is the deposit amount or his commitment to fixing the leaking sink.

Rental Property Hunting

Perhaps you have no outstanding debts, lucky you!  Or you may already have a fairly healthy savings account.  Maybe you just don’t feel like putting your hard-earned money away and would like to spend it on yourself instead – you

Now that we’ve established an actionable checklist for your rental house hunt, here are a few points to consider when viewing a property:

  • Cell phone coverage
  • Interior condition of the unit
    • Floors, windows and ceiling – note age and condition.
    • Walls – check for stains and cracks.
    • Bathrooms and kitchen – test taps and check for leaks.
    • Rooms – are the floors even?
    • Stairs – do the stairs creak or show damage of any kind?
    • Doors – test to see that they open and close properly and that all locks are working.
    • Systems – this includes systems like smoke detectors, security systems and air conditioning units. Check that these are all working.
  • Exterior condition of the unit
    • Roof – check for sagging or discoloration.
    • Foundation – make sure there is no damage to the foundation.
    • Walls – any peeling paint or cracks?
  • Make the viewing as comprehensive as possible
    • Take photos.
    • Wear comfortable clothing.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
    • Find out about the property’s history.
    • Remember your budget.
    • Keep your expectations realistic.
    • Be sure to take the landlord or agent’s contact details and do some research if you aren’t sure. Rather be safe than get caught in a rental property scam.
    • Review the lease agreement and know your tenant rights.

As daunting as a house hunt may be, it can also be very liberating, so make sure you know what you want and what your and your family’s needs are in terms of your home.

Renting CAN be inexpensive!

Inexpensive renting

You’ve just moved into your new rental property and renting a property means there is a whole lot you need to get done and pay, before you and your family finally get to move into your new home.  From finding a suitable property to packing and moving there is a lot of planning and work, not to mention all the expenses.  Lucky for you, offers rentals some of which COULD come complete with a month’s rent-free living!

You may be thinking to yourself, what could I do with all the rent money I’ll be saving this month?

Cover the move

Now that you have a month’s worth of rent money, you can pay professional movers to move your valuable belongings into your new home for you.  This way you can ensure that everything arrives at the same time and you don’t even have to go to the trouble of packing and unpacking the moving truck.

Saving your rent money

One of the most obvious answers would be to save your first month’s rent money.  Perhaps you already have a little nest egg, this way you can expand on that, or maybe this will be your first deposit into a savings account, making you feel like you have accomplished something great!

Debt is expensive

An alternative to saving your money is to use that money to settle or minimise some of your existing debts.  If you were to settle just one high-interest account with your rent money you could be saving substantially in the long run.

What else can I spend my rent money on?

Perhaps you have no outstanding debts, lucky you!  Or you may already have a fairly healthy savings account.  Maybe you just don’t feel like putting your hard-earned money away and would like to spend it on yourself instead – you deserve it after all.  We’ve compiled a little awesome spending list for you to see what you could be spending your extra money on:

Family Time

There are few things in life that feel as good as when you are able to take your family out for a special day.  You could even take them away for a weekend!  Just imagine being able to spend some much-needed quality time with your loved ones and knowing that you don’t have to worry about your budget the next day.

Invest in your home

You were thinking about getting some new appliances – now you can!  Why not get that new fridge you’ve been eyeing for the last few months?  Or maybe you need to expand on your current crockery collection. Regardless, you could have a lot of fun shopping for new kitchen items instead of paying that money over to the landlord that month.


Not that you have moved into a new property surely you want to add some personality to your home.  You can decorate your new rental with your saved rent money. Check out our blog on decorating on a budget here.  Now you can create your perfect living space and you don’t even have to take extra cash out of your budget to do it.

Garden Care

Does your property come with a garden?  You can use your rent to create an outdoor sanctuary for yourself and your family.  Get some brightly coloured pot plants or plant a few perennials that are low maintenance.

Me time

Taking time for yourself is so important.  Now you can do it without feeling guilty about it!  Book yourself a spa day and go relax for the day while you are being pampered.  Upgrade your wardrobe with a shopping spree.  Do what will make you happy.

The gift of giving

Christmas time means a lot of expenses.  You can buy your Christmas gifts instead. This way you can get everyone that perfect gift and still have the money left to spend on yourself.  Or even to some birthday shopping upfront!

Property rental scams – How NOT to get caught

Property letting scams

Property rental scams – one would think in this modern-day and age very few people would still fall for any form of online or offline scams, the reality is much starker though, now more people get conned out of their hard-earned money than ever before despite freely available information on how scammers operate. 

Stories of homeowners opening their doors to find an unsuspecting family ready to ’move into their new home’ are rife, and this is just one variation of the very many rental property scams.

rental property scams

What are property letting scams?

So, you think you are too smart to get conned into a property scam?  You are online, or leafing through local classifieds, searching for a new property to rent, out of desire or need and come across an advertisement that immediately makes you think “this one!”.  You reread the advert and see that the property is perfect, perhaps the monthly rental rate is also lower than the average for that particular suburb.  The landlord or rental agent that listed the property clearly knows their stuff, their advert’s content wholly does the images justice!  You can clearly see the value in this property and the added bonus of a lower rental rate makes you want to jump at the chance to have this property before anyone else can snatch it up.

The next logical step you take is to contact this ‘bogus’ owner or agent, unaware that you are about to be conned out of a lot of money.  The person you are now dealing with sends you more images, descriptions of the property and perhaps even mentions having a ready-to-sign contract available to make the whole process move faster for you.  While making you feel very important and smart for wanting such an amazing property this bogus agent will probably avoid physically showing you the place at all costs, with a myriad of excuses that could include being out of town, not wanting to disturb the current tenants or even the homeowner.

Knowing how awed you are or perhaps even desperate for this particular house the agent will start subtly pushing you towards paying the deposit and sometimes even the first month’s rent in order to secure your new home.  He will offer to hand over the keys to your new home once the deposit has been paid however, this will never happen – he will disappear with your money never to be seen again.

How to spot a scam and how to avoid it

The age-old adage ‘if it sounds too good to be true, then it usually is’ rings very true when it comes to unfolding a rental property scam.  Trust your instincts and walk away from the situation if you are uncertain.  There may be small tell-tale signs that give you that ‘vibe’, things like feeling that the person you are dealing with is withholding important information from you or even a badly spelt advert could be a dead giveaway that you may be dealing with a con artist instead of a legitimate rental agent or landlord.

Of course, we’re not saying every badly written advert out there is necessarily a con some people really just can’t spell.  However, if you feel unsure there are ways to establish if the person you are dealing with is legitimate.

We’ve compiled a few tips for you to consider when doing your property homework to keep you safe and scam-free:

  • Establish the supposed agent’s legitimacy – This is a very easy step to take, if the agent lists themselves as working for a particular company within the property industry simply call their offices and confirm this person’s employment with them.
  • Ensure that the agency is reputable – We all know the big names in the property game so if you happen upon an agent working for an unknown agency look into this, it could be a bogus company created specifically for the scam.
  • Investigate the property – Would you insist on renting out your property and not allow a prospective tenant to come to view the house to ensure that it is a good fit for them? Most people won’t!  So, if the agent is deliberately delaying showing you the property try to get in contact with the homeowner and neighbors.  There have been cases where a landlord has worked with the tenants or bogus agents on a con so go to the neighbors, you can ask them questions like these to establish the authenticity of the property and owner:
    • Who is the homeowner?
    • How long has the property been available for rent?
    • Has it been rented out before?
    • How long have the current tenants lived there?
    • Why does the homeowner not live there?
  • Ask for the utility account – Regardless of whether the property was advertised by the owner, an agent or even a current tenant, you can ask for the utility bill and check the facts for yourself. Here you will be able to see who the registered homeowner is and you can even see if all the utilities have been paid up to date ensuring that there are no nasty surprises waiting for you.  If the person you are dealing with is reluctant to give you this information, it may very well be a sign that you are being scammed.
  • Have the legal side checked out too – If there was mention of a contract to be signed then you can ask for a copy and show this to a lawyer to check the facts and legalities for you.
  • If you have an opportunity to physically view the property be sure to take someone you trust with you as an added precaution.

Remember that in any legitimate rental deal no money changes hands until the tenant has met with the homeowner or the letting agent and the property has been viewed., proudly brought to you by the Central Developments Property Group, would love to hear from you! Tell us what you would like to see more of on our blogs.