If you use an agent, ask the following:
- When the letting income is paid;
- What extras are levied and what for;
- Whether he provides detailed accounts of income and expenses (ask to see samples);
- Who he lets to (e.g. what nationalities and whether families, children or singles, etc.);
- How he markets properties; whether you are expected to contribute towards marketing costs;
- Whether you are free to let the property yourself and use it when you wish.
The larger agencies market homes via newspapers, magazines, overseas agents and colour brochures, and have representatives in many countries. Management contracts usually run for a year. A management company’s services should include arranging routine and emergency repairs, reading meters (if electricity is charged separately), routine maintenance of house and garden, including lawn cutting and pool cleaning, arranging cleaning and linen changes between lets, advising guests on the use of equipment, and providing guest information and advice (24 hours per day in the case of emergencies).
Agents may also provide someone to meet and greet clients, hand over the keys and check that everything is in order. A letting agent’s representative should also make periodic checks when a property is empty to ensure that it’s secure and that everything is in order. The services provided usually depend on whether a property is a basic cottage or a luxury villa costing tens of thousands of rand per week.
Before buying a community property, you should check that letting is permitted. You may need to notify the property’s administrator and your insurance company if a property is to be let.