Top 10 Mistakes Expatriates and Global Citizens Should Avoid When Renting a House Abroad
It is estimated that by the year 2025, more than half the population of major cities across the globe will not have a house of their own. What is that true? Yes, the cities where the rich lavishly live usually will soon be cities of renters.
But why is this happening? With the rapid rise in the population of major cities, housing construction has lagged far behind demand. It has resulted in property prices skyrocketing in recent years and people opting to stay in rented houses. But this can turn out to be a trap for millions of tenants globally. Renters need to beware of the so-called fierce competition that pushes them to make hasty and bad rental decisions. Here are ten mistakes expats should avoid when renting a house abroad.
1. Not checking out the neighborhood
It’s a must to check neighborhood safety, and more so if you’re staying with young children. Always make it a point to check the ‘crime’ percentage of the area by consulting with the police. It also makes good sense to visit the property after sundown and check the safety ‘limit’. What looks clear during the day can tell a different story at night.
2. Not reading the contract/lease before signing
Not all tenancy agreements are standard, and that is why it is not a waste of time to read one. When renting a house abroad, take the time to go through the contract and double-check if the conditions agreed upon are present on paper.
Carefully examine the terms’ notice period’, ‘rental amount’, ‘break clause’, ‘rules on ending your tenancy, ‘who pays for repairs/utilities’, ‘rent increase clauses’, ‘type of end of tenancy cleaning’, etc., before you sign the lease or contract. For future reference or better understanding, take pictures of the document with your phone.
3. Not documenting the property immediately after moving in
Do make it a point to take photos of the rented property when you move in. Documenting the property at this time ensures existing damage is taken care of by the landlord. Make a list of repairs before signing on the dotted line.
It is on the landlord to make the property in good condition before you move in. Furthermore, this evidence comes in handy when you’re moving out. The landlord is not able to pin the damage on the tenant and make deductions from your advance.
4. Not negotiating the rent
Don’t be surprised if your friend staying in your neighborhood is paying cheaper rent than you. To avoid this, do a proper survey of the ongoing rent rates and, if possible, rent directly from the landlord. It prevents you from paying agency fees. Also, do not hesitate to negotiate the rent a bit to get a better deal.
5. Not insuring your belongings
The property may not belong to you, but your possessions are your property. Hence, it is prudent to protect them against flood, fire, theft, or any other natural calamity or emergency. Once the tenancy papers are signed, get yourself to buy insurance for your personal belongings. Policies are quite inexpensive and easily affordable.
Finally, don’t forget to obtain adequate international health insurance through a high-quality medical insurance source such as Expat Financial. Covering your healthcare is even more important than home insurance.
6. Not taking your partner along to view the property
Property viewings are a crucial step in the process of renting. Before you shake your hands on the deal, make sure your partner or significant other or friends (if you will be sharing the premises with them) have seen the property too. Some tenants view the houses in their own time, while others visit in groups. Whatever it is, ensure all parties have examined the property promptly before you risk losing your favorite house.
7. Not being adequately prepared for property viewing
When renting a house abroad, have a list to check once you’re at the site for property viewing. Without having the main points jotted down before the property visit may force you into renting a ‘non-decent’ house. A planned house viewing will prevent you from missing the necessary checks.
8. Not considering the storage capacity of the property
Many tenants tend to judge a property by way of its square footage. It is misleading because a great layout can make a site with less square footage look bigger. At the time of property viewing, look for storage spaces — inbuilt wardrobes, smart furnishing, open layout, etc. Don’t get carried away by the looks of the property. Is there enough space to hold your belongings, is the question that should be on your mind.
9. Not adequately researching the area surrounding the property
Always survey the area you will be moving to. Does it fit into your cultural and social preferences? Will you be comfortable with the local community? What is the housing type in your area? Once you’re sure the neighborhood fits into your kind of living, you can make the right decision.
10. Not informing the landlord about maintenance issues
When renting a house abroad, it becomes your responsibility to inform your landlord of maintenance issues that the house may have. It has to be sorted out at the time of property viewing or immediately after you’ve moved in. A slight delay can damage your personal belongings and ruin your living space. Issues with plumbing or problems with appliances need to be brought to the notice of the landlord so they can be taken care of at the appropriate time.