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How to determine the rent you should charge

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Buyers looking to purchase an investment property to rent out often have difficulty determining the accurate rental price. There are many factors to consider and if you don’t assess your property value correctly you could end up over- or undercharging.

“The accepted calculation standard for a long time has been to charge up to 1,1% of the property’s value,” says Richard Gray, CEO of Harcourts Africa. “Take note that as the property’s value increases the percentage of rental yield decreases because of the low demand for rentals in high value properties. In some cases rental prices go as low as the 0,7% mark.”

A lot of other variables need to be taken into account, he points out, with one of the most important external factors influencing rental price being the location of the property. Suburb, sea views, amenities, schools, business districts, transport routes, all play a major part in the demand for a rental property. Often homes of equal value and characteristics several kilometres apart charge completely different rental prices due to their location factors. Another key variable is supply and demand and depending on the current trend this will have a definite effect on your rental price.

“Once you’ve assessed the advantageous features of your property you need to research property comparisons in your area to get an idea of what the local standards are. Browse listings of estate agents or property portals and locate properties of similar value and features. In addition, give the local estate agent a call. If they’re worth their salt they’ll be able to assist you and give you a great idea of what rental income you can expect. Consider every little detail,” he says.

browsing resizeInternal factors need to be assessed in conjunction with elements out of your hands, such as the condition of your property. In this instance you need to be very honest with yourself and identify any issues a tenant might have; cracks in the wall, paint peeling, cupboard space, kitchen size, etc. You have to view your property through the eyes of somebody wanting to walk in and call your place home.

Another factor of course, Gray adds, is to calculate your bond repayments, levies and other expenses and compare them to a realistic rental income. This way you can determine what you can afford as well as decide whether you should let the tenant pay for water and electricity, or if you’re able to absorb some of the costs to make the property more appealing.

Once you’ve evaluated all these guidelines and determined a price, gauge the ad response and demand for the property to assess whether your rental expectations are too high or too low. Gray highlights demand as a great indicator of your property’s value as many tenants are knowledgeable of what realistic rent prices are. If the ad response is very bad, and you’ve ticked all the necessary marketing boxes, then maybe you’ve overestimated the rental price. Reassess and adjust your rental expectation slightly lower and then see what the response is. If on the other hand you get a huge response and are inundated with enquiries you can afford to push the price a little higher.

All of these guidelines are only a drop in the ocean in comparison to the knowledge worthy estate agents have and it is undoubtedly still the best option to find a local estate agent to assist you in managing your property. They will not only accurately measure your rental income but ensure all the legalities are followed and tenants are managed professionally and lawfully, he advises.estate agents2 resize






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