Real Estate 101 | Renting? Here’s what you should consider
The act of ‘adulting’ often comes with many responsibilities. One of which often includes renting a home, either for your personal freedom or to start a family.
According to Realtor Associate Kimberly Irons, since the start of the pandemic in 2020, the real estate market in Jamaica has morphed into what those in the business call a seller’s market. That means that the demand for properties is far greater than what currently exists or is available on the market, making it a more challenging target to meet.
Iron’s interest in real estate was ignited after learning of the many properties her grandfather built as a resourceful and skilful mason. She also witnessed her mother successfully purchase her home and venture into acquiring investment properties, which sparked a desire to create these opportunities for others. “Seeing my mother’s happiness in achieving these goals is truly remarkable,” she said.
Despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, real estate is one industry that has held its own. In fact, Irons says that the overwhelming demand for properties seen since COVID-19 has made such a drastic shift that the price on rentals has increased in an effort to restore the market’s equilibrium.
“Contrary to popular belief, with the advent of the pandemic and persons seemingly having difficulties with their employment, the presence of what we are currently seeing in the market shows that persons are very much willing and able to demand not just rental homes, but also home purchases,” she told Saturday Living, noting that the decision between home rental and ownership all boils down to an individual’s disposable income and eligibility.
Since becoming a realtor at Keller Williams in January, Irons is new on the scene but boasts a wealth of knowledge in the field. She shared these tips for renters.
1 Consider the type of residence that will suit your needs. Would you like a single-family home, a condominium, a town house or something else?
2 Figure out how much you can comfortably afford to pay for rent monthly, based on your salary and disposable income. Additionally, ensure that you have the necessary proof for your source of funds. Every real estate broker requires that any prospective tenant interested in putting an offer to rent a property show sufficient proof of your source of funds and show that you can indeed afford to lease the property for the desired time.
3 Utilise a realtor for professional guidance to avoid the stress and burden of endlessly searching for properties on your own. A realtor will do thorough searches for properties within your specified areas of preference and budget, all while educating you on surrounding neighbourhoods and of any properties of interest, along with their respective amenities, which may not always be easily accessible.
4 Be extra careful and vigilant so as to avoid scams. Scammers have become quite sophisticated in this day and age. Ensure that you verify the property you are interested in is actually legitimate and safe for your ultimate perusal. A realtor may assist in this process, by helping you to search for properties that have been listed publicly by their respective brokers, who would have done thorough background checks on every owner and respective property listed on multi-listing systems.
5 Read carefully before signing your lease. After your successful search for the property is achieved, you will view the property and get to place an offer to rent on the property of interest. Once this offer is accepted, you will be given a lease agreement to sign, which is one of the most critical stages of the rental transaction process. This is where you will legally become the tenant of the property of your interest after payments are made. If you have not utilised a realtor at this point, I advise that you seek guidance from one or a lawyer to carefully review all conditions of the lease agreement before signing. Irons warns renters not to fall into the trap of signing an agreement blindly and suffering the consequences of experiencing matters that you would have deemed unacceptable, if you only had the guidance of a professional at the time of signing.
6 Know your rights. Irons encourages tenants to know their rights. “As a tenant in a private rented property, your lease agreement should provide you with a number of rights unless it is a faulty agreement. Some of the rights include: “The right to live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair. The right to know the identity of your landlord. The right to live in the property undisturbed. The right to be protected from unfair rent and unfair eviction,” she said, adding that tenants should also protect their security deposit. “Ensure to protect your security deposit upon officially leaving the residence. Every tenant reserves the right to have their security deposit returned at the end of the tenancy (provided that you meet the terms of your tenancy agreement). Most tenants and seemingly forgetful landlords may forget this important requirement,” she said.