The trend of buying luxury flats has increased by nearly eight to nine percent in Pakistan in the last decade, primarily due to increasing demand for well-maintained, secure housing units. It is therefore not surprising that between 2010 and 2016, flats prices increased by 110%, while houses registered a much slower increase, at 80% (source: Pakistan Economic Survey, 2016).
Traditionally, flats projects were in Karachi, as cultural preferences in Islamabad and Lahore were for horizontal residential projects. Though with the rapid urban sprawl, cities have become congested, land prices are going up, and the flat living trend is swiftly gaining traction in these cities as well. Although, in the last six years alone, the demand for flats has gone up by nearly 35%, which has given rise to an increasing number of newly constructed high-rise luxury flats in Islamabad and Lahore.
Moreover, owning a flat comes with a set of benefits like experiencing the community and living with a neighbor right across the hall. Living in a flat is also considered more secure with 24/7 well-guarded entrances and exits which most residential buildings in Islamabad offer.
Al-Ghurair Giga located in the prime location of Islamabad, brings the best living flats, such as Defence Tower, El Cielo, Lignum Tower, Defence Executive, Defence Residency, Goldcrest Views, Goldcrest Highlife, and Central Palace Residence. Nonetheless, luxurious flats are available for rent and sale also with plenty of amenities.
Get Updated About the Market
You might not believe it, but the fact is that in most of the leading cities in Pakistan, renting has grown to be the most significant expense compared to rental values a decade ago. Moving to the bigger cities in search of a job and better lifestyle, along with the rise of the nucleus family concept, has raised the demand for rental properties in Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi that outplaces supply and resultantly rental prices are driving up. The increase in employment opportunities in metropolitans led to the shortage of suitable quality luxury apartments, which makes potential tenants spend a notable portion of their income on rent.
Manage Your Expectations
In this challenging real estate market, you need to search for rental apartments only after fully understanding the dynamics and what you can afford. If your monthly income varies, you must see the minimum of it to understand what you can afford easily. Do not forget to consider the security payments and a little bit of renovation while calculating the rent for a new studio apartment or house. Look thoroughly at all the additional costs and then plan to move into a new apartment.
Use Online Portals
Most of the tenants favor using online property portals to find their next rental accommodation. Locating a rental property online is far more comfortable than turning to newspaper classifieds or driving around the neighborhood looking for a “For Rent sign”. When you see something online, you must contact the agent on an instant basis. Prepare your wants and needs list in advance, and as soon as you find something reliable, act quickly. Resultantly, you can expect the landlord to get back to you soon due to the availability of a growing number of online communication tools.
Things to Inspect and check before renting a Flat
There are many things you must consider before renting a flat, house, or other rental property. You may focus on the location of the rental, such as which neighborhood it is in and which facilities are close (like public transportation, grocery shopping, and parks). Still, it is also important to assure the rental unit itself is what you are expecting.
Usually, the landlord of a rental property will show potential tenants the unit that they want to rent before they sign the lease, and sometimes, part of that process involves going documenting the conditions of the rental unit using a move-in rental inspection report. This will assist you, and your potential new landlord makes a note of any renovations that are needed, damages that were there from former tenants, and so on before you move in.
If a rental inspection report is not considered or not used, then the landlord may not remember what damages existed in the flat before you moved in, which could result in the landlord charging you for damages you did not cause and feasibly withholding part of your security deposit when you move out to pay for the damages.
- Walls, Floors, and Carpets for Damages
When you first visit a residential rental property, the first things you generally notice are the walls, carpets, and floors. While it is common for the walls to have a few small holes from the previous tenant’s art or pictures (if the landlord did not fix the walls or repaint after the previous tenant moved out) or the floors that are hardwood to have a few small scuffs, you want to make sure that more visible damage (like noticeable stains on the carpets or large holes in the walls) are available in the inspection report (normally the landlord will take pictures) to indicate that the previous tenant did those damages. Besides, you might want to take pictures of the damages for your records.
- Power outlets and electrical work
Many things we use every day require a power outlet to work, such as TVs, phone chargers, kitchen appliances, etc. When paying a visit to a flat, you should bring a small device to plug into every socket that you can find to ensure they all work. Cannot think of anything small to bring with you for testing? Go to a hardware store and purchase an Electrical Receptacle Wall Plug AC Outlet Ground Tester. Plus, test all of the lights throughout the flat to make sure they turn on and off as they are supposed to. When you move in without checking these, and it turns out they do not work, you might just be out of luck.
- Safety Equipment
If there is an emergency while you are living at a rental property, you want to be certain that the safety equipment, like smoke detectors, is working properly; so that it alerts you to the danger in time. If you observe that a smoke detector is not working (as the lights on the device are not on), you must request that the landlord makes sure that all of these devices are working before you move in.
- water pressure and temperature
This is something that usually flies under the radar but is something we must deal with every day. There is nothing worse than the wonky water pressure and water temperature that is much hard or way too gentle. Of course, you cannot go and take a shower while inspecting the flat, you can test the temperature and pressure with your hand to make sure it is suitable. If you notice that there are problems with it, consult with the landlord or company to check what you can do about it before you move in.
- Know your landlord
It is very important to know some basic information about the landlord. If it is a management company with thousands of flats for rent, it may be more difficult to negotiate, but if it is a family and they just need to secure the income every month, you have a green light to close the deal with a small discount.
What to Do When You Find a Place?
It is a common practice that tenants sign a twelve-month lease document. Though, you need to read the contract thoroughly to understand every term in the agreement. If the contract does not cover all aspects, it indicates you are not legally bound. Otherwise, you should be mentally ready to face financial penalties if you break the lease. At the same time, be fully aware of your rights as tenants. Talk about everything with your landlord.
If you have intentions to move out of the current rental property once the contract ends, you should begin searching for your house ahead of time. You should start seeing properties at least two months before the lease contract ends. It will give you some time to see different options and pick the best one. Otherwise, the landlord will raise the rent after the term.
- Upfront Costs
Rent is not your only financial concern with a new apartment. Even before the monthly expense, you have to save for the upfront costs. Between a security deposit, application fees, a pet deposit if applicable, and the first and last month’s rent as a deposit, you are going to shell out some money before you even get the keys to your first apartment.
- Paperwork Preparation
Besides budgeting for your first apartment, it is helpful to gather all the paperwork, a property manager will demand during the application process. Getting this ready in advance can speed up the review. They will also often ask for verification of your financial stability, identity, and employment. Collect recent bank statements and pay stubs and have your photo ID with you when you fill out rental forms.
- Lease Terms
This might be the first time you are reviewing a legal document, and it might be hard to interpret. Bulk up on commonly used terms within a rental agreement and then read your lease thoroughly.
If you do not understand something, ask about it before you sign the document. Check the areas about restrictions and regulations for behavior, the policy on late rent, and what steps can lead to eviction. If you do not agree with something in the lease, discuss it with your property manager. It is OK to ask for changes to your lease, but do not assume you will win every discussion.
Another thing to consider before moving in is storage. Most apartments in Islamabad do not have huge walk-in closets and built-in shelving to store your essentials. You will have to strategize on space-saving solutions.
One of the great items to get is under-bed storage bins. They slide neatly under the bed and are a perfect storage solution for off-season clothing. Other options can be furniture pieces that do double duty, like an ottoman that opens up extra space. Shelving, Bookcases, or decorative bins also come in handy for storage and look nice. One should aim to avoid making their apartment feel cluttered, so a combination of storage solutions is often the best way to go.
Who says that purchasing a house is a difficult task? Finding a suitable rental apartment that meets your needs or fits into your budget is equally challenging. No matter how attractive the local real estate market looks, the method of finding a place that fits into your budget meets your needs, and the timeframe can be quite hectic and stressful. Understanding the existing market and following the experts’ tips can assist you in mitigating the stress involved and reaching suitable options.