BY ZAWADI MUDIBO
Leasing is a relatively cheap way of securing a property. The all-time high mortgage rates and exorbitant house prices make owning a property a mirage to many people. With an increase in fraud and termination of the lease agreements without the proper procedure, one needs to be cautious when signing a lease agreement.
Lamudi Kenya MD Dan Karau says, “Most standard leases are not detailed enough, which could be troublesome if the verbal agreement was not in writing too. Once you sign the lease agreement, you are locked in, therefore you need to discuss with the prospective landlord and make sure it’s put in writing.”
Lamudi Kenya looks at what to look out before you sign a lease:
Background check on the tenant/landlord: You need to do a thorough background check on the landlord to ascertain the property is his or is a legit agent who has been contracted by the owner to act in his behalf in leasing the property. The landlord also needs to do a milieu on the potential tenant to make sure they are genuine people who won’t con them off their property. Before you make up your mind, you can ask for a copy of the lease to review the complex rules and policies.
Utilities: Take a moment to consider what would happen when things go wrong. One way is to check how much extra you would pay on the utilities and what the payment procedure in detail is. This could be your electricity, water, garbage, security, telephone, cable and Internet. The lease should clearly state what’s included in the rent and what’s not.
Renovations: Most leases do not agree on renovations in the property apart from commercial properties. If they do agree on renovations in the house, you need to know who will cater for it and the conditions for renovating the house. Whether you want to install your own lighting, a different paint colour, or anything that will affect the infrastructure, make sure the lease has stated the procedure for it.
Neighbours: With the rise of insecurity in the country, one needs to know his fellow tenants, before signing the lease agreement. This will greatly help in curbing insecurity and creating a safe and secure environment for everyone. Especially in a building where there are more than two occupants, try to make an effort to get to know the people around, you’ll find that you have a much safer environment.
What to do when listing a property online: The world is becoming a digital hub and with the advancement in technology customers can get everything at the click of a button. The Internet provides a 360-degree approach in the real estate markets through provision of information on property, analysis and trends, online transactions and real-time auctions.
The Internet is greatly diversifying real estate products as companies structure their operations to remain relevant in the digital age. Lamudi Kenya General Manager Cynthia Nyamwathi says: “With the increasing number of people looking for houses online, agents and developers need to create a listing that is attractive to the potential tenant or buyer.”
Ms Nyamwathi adds that it is important to note that when agents are listing properties online they need to make the listing unique and attractive. Here are the key things agents should consider when listing a property.
Accessibility: Avoid cliché by saying “great location,” rather quote what makes your property ideal. For instance, say, “ten minutes away from the Central Business District” or mention a social amenity that would boost your property. If the location is not working for your property say the features that stand out in your property that will attract the potential tenants/buyers to your property. This will lure people to your property by not becoming an ordinary listing on the website.
Utilities: Let the potential buyer know what’s in the property. Give detailed description on water supply, borehole, and electricity and if backup is provided. These are the common utilities potential buyers or tenants look out for in addition to playing grounds for children, parking spaces and lifts for a multiple floored apartment. With the increasing digital space provision of internet is important and cable TV connection.
Security: It is important to highlight on security. Mention all the security parameters; 24 hour manned entrance, CCTV cameras, intercom and an electric fence. This will boost your property’s security profile and if there’s a police post within the vicinity it’s worthwhile mentioning it. With the heightened insecurity it is important to emphasise on the security of your property.
Incentives: Human nature is driven by incentives. If there’s a sale on the property or incentive you are offering, mention it on the listing. This will be enticing to the potential buyers- been aware of the benefits for renting/buying the said property.