Finding a new home to rent can be a stressful and time-consuming process. You may feel like choosing the first decent house that you can find, just because you don’t feel like investing so much time in the process.
However, you should take as much time as you need to find a decent home - the last thing you want is to be miserable a couple months down the road.
The Importance of Finding the Right Home
Unfortunately, Tanzanians have been expressing growing dissatisfaction with their lives in recent years, for which the Social Progress Imperative (SPI) states there are a number of reasons. In particular, the SPI claims that quality of life was one of the biggest reasons that many people were feeling unhappy.
One of the biggest factors that affect a citizen’s quality of life is their happiness with their living situation. For this reason, we can assume that it’s a number of Tanzanians aren’t taking the time required to find homes that suit their needs.
If you’re in the market for a new home or apartment to rent, you’ll want to begin by thinking about your needs.
What is Your Ideal Home?
There are a lot of different things that you need to think about when choosing a home. Here are some of the specific questions you need to ask yourself while looking for a home to rent:
How big is your family?
Your family size is one of the first things that you need to take into consideration when looking for a home. Understandably, you need to make sure that the house is large enough for your entire family to live comfortably.
If you are a larger family, then you may want to rent a house with two bedrooms and two master rooms. If you are a single person, on the other hand, then you should be able to easily get by with a house with just one or two bedrooms.
Are your children willing to share rooms?
Many Tanzanian families have children sharing rooms, which usually works well if they are of similar ages and the same gender. Other room sharing situations can also work, but it all depends on the relationship between your children.
What is your budget?
You obviously need to find a home that is going to fit within your budget. As a general rule of thumb, look for a home that doesn’t cost more than a third of your monthly income. So if the average family earns 2,267,000 shillings a year, that is 188,900 a month. If you’re an average income family, you can afford to rent an apartment that costs about 63,000 shillings a month. Luckily, Kupatana currently has over 20,000 listings for homes for rent that fall in that price range.
Of course, this is just a rough guideline. You may be able to afford a pricier home if you are going to be growing your own food or if you don’t spend a lot of money on fuel and other necessities.
The most important thing is to make sure that you have enough discretionary income, which can be hard if you are going to be spending a ton of money on rent. Start by creating a budget to really understand how much house you can afford each month once your other expenses are met.
Unfortunately, many families have trouble finding their ideal home for a reasonable price. According to one study, the average Tanzanian would need to pay 138% of their annual income for the perfect home. This means that you must be realistic about what you can afford when looking for a property to live in.
Do you have a vehicle?
If you have a vehicle, you’ll have a lot more freedom to get around and can look farther from town to find the perfect home. Otherwise, you will want to look for a house that’s located near important destinations, such as grocery stores, your children’s schools and hospitals.
Do you want to live in a quiet neighborhood?
Many Tanzanians are drawn to large cities because they enjoy the opportunity to connect with other people. Other citizens want to live in more secluded areas so that they can enjoy the quiet and privacy.
You need to decide what your preference is and what will work best for your family. If you’re a single adult trying to get a better job, finding a home closer to a major city like Dar es Salaam or Zanzibar may be your best option. On the other hand, if you are a family with young children, then living in a quieter community where they can play may be a better option (unless, of course, you have to live near the city for work).
How important is plumbing?
Certainly, most Tanzanian citizens would like to live in a home with indoor plumbing, though - unfortunately - only about a quarter of all families currently live in communities with piping and running water. And, as you may expect, the houses that do have running water tend to be considerably more expensive. You may find that it simply isn’t worth paying extra for a home with indoor plumbing.
However, some larger families feel that indoor plumbing is important, and you may want to consider investing in it if you have two or more children living in your home. It may be difficult to find houses with working plumbing in more remote parts of Tanzania, but there will generally be at least a few options available to you.
Do you need a modern kitchen unit?
A growing number of Tanzanians are looking to live in homes with modern kitchens, and it’s certainly a good idea to look for one if you enjoy planning and cooking complicated dishes.
How Do You Find a House that Meets Your Needs?
There are a number of things that you need to take into consideration when looking for a home to rent. You need to carefully review all of your options to make sure that the home you choose is one you’ll be happy living in for months or years to come.
Here are some tips to guide you through the process:
1. List your priorities.
Some choices in life can be difficult. Whether you’re planning on living in your next home for three months or thirty years, it’s important that you make sure you’re comfortable there.
Identifying your priorities for a new home is the first step that you need to take. There is an old adage that says: “If you don't know where you're going, you might not get there.”
Apply this line of thinking when you’re looking for a new home. Take the time to write down all of your priorities so that you’ll know you’re renting the right house.
2. Review different property listings.
Begin by carefully reviewing all of the property listings in the area where you want to live.
Make a list of all properties that meet all your essential requirements, such as being affordable, having enough rooms or having a modern kitchen. You can also make notes next to each about the different features they offer, but begin by finding homes that meet your most basic needs.
3. Start reaching out to the landlords of the best properties.
Never agree to rent a property without seeing it first. Some landlords can exaggerate or even lie about the property, so you will want to inspect it for yourself. After you look over each property, start making a list of ones you’d be happy to live in.
4. Find out if anything is negotiable or likely to change
Rental listings are usually very formal, which can make you feel like you are reading a contract that’s set in stone. However, many landlords are willing to negotiate on price or other parts of the rental agreement. If your perfect home is too expensive, ask the landlord if the price is negotiable. He may be willing to lower it if he likes you.
Other features may be subject to change as well. For example, the landlord may be considering
renovating or expanding the house in the next couple of months. If the existing house is too small to meet your needs, you may still want to sign the lease anyways if it will be perfect after the expansion.
In any case, it’s a good idea to ask for more information to get a clearer idea of what you can expect from your rental - now and in the future.
5. Review your final choices
By the time you’ve looked at the most promising housing options that are available to you, you should have a much better idea of your opportunities. Carefully review all the houses you visited, decide which best suit your needs and sign your new rental contract.
Congratulations! You’ve chosen a great rental home for you and your family.
Take the Time to Find the Right Home
Finding the right house to rent can be difficult. You may get tired of looking at properties after a while, but it’s important to keep searching until you find a place where you and your family will be happy. Remember, you will be spending most of your time at your home. Don’t make the decision lightly!
Do you have another tip on choosing what type of home to rent? If so, share it below so our entire community can benefit:
Image: Wikimedia Commons