What to Consider When Investing in Rental Property

If you’re looking to invest in rental property, there are a few key factors to consider.

Rental property can be a great investment, but it’s important to do your research beforehand. You should understand the local market, the type of property you want to invest in, and the potential returns you can expect. It’s also important to understand the costs associated with renting out the property, such as taxes and maintenance.

You should also determine what type of tenant you want to rent out your property to, as different types of tenants may have different needs and requirements. Another thing to keep in mind is that rental properties require long-term commitment; they’re not a get-rich-quick scheme. So before investing in rental property, make sure that you’re prepared for the long haul.

In this article, we’ll discuss what you need to consider when investing in a rental property and provide some tips for finding success.

Risk and return

Investing in rental property can be a smart financial move, but it’s important to understand the associated risks and rewards before diving in. It is essential to consider the potential return on investment (ROI) and understand the associated risks.

The ROI of rental property can vary depending on a variety of factors, including location, size, condition and rental market demand. It is important to research local real estate markets before investing to ensure that you are making an informed investment decision.

Additionally, it is important to consider the risk associated with owning rental property. These risks can include liability issues, repair costs being higher than anticipated and tenants not paying their rent on time or at all. It is essential to research local landlord/tenant law and have an emergency fund set aside for any unexpected repairs or legal fees that may arise during the ownership of your rental property.


When investing in rental property, there are several potential expenses that you should consider. These include:

  • Property Taxes: Depending on your province, you may be liable for paying property taxes on the property. Be sure to research local tax laws so that you can determine what your total tax liability will be.
  • Insurance: All rental properties need to have an insurance policy in place to protect them from any liability. As a landlord, you should have both a homeowner’s insurance and a landlord’s policy in place to protect yourself and your investment.
  • Maintenance and Repairs: Any property that is occupied by tenants requires ongoing maintenance and repairs due to wear and tear. You should factor in the cost of these repairs before investing as well as set aside some additional funds for unexpected repair needs as they arise.

Planning for these expenses before investing can help you ensure that you keep your rental property profitable over the long term.

Capital requirements

Two main types of capital need to be considered: upfront capital and ongoing capital.

Upfront Capital

Upfront capital includes the cost of purchasing the rental property, as well as any renovations and repairs that need to be done. This is typically a one-time expenditure but can be substantial depending on the property. Investors should plan for this cost and factor it into their overall budget when deciding to invest.

Ongoing Capital

Ongoing capital for rental property investments includes costs such as insurance, taxes, maintenance, and other fees. These costs can vary significantly depending on the type of property being invested in, so it’s important to do thorough research before making an investment decision. It’s also important to factor in potential future costs or unexpected expenses that may arise over time.

Overall, investors need to make sure they have enough capital available upfront and ongoing to make their investment successful.


Before you commit to purchasing a rental property, make sure you are aware of the full scope of insurance needs for your investment.

In South Africa, rental property owners should have both home and contents insurance, as well as landlord insurance to protect themselves and their investment. Home and contents insurance protects the physical structure of the property, while landlord insurance protects against any liability that may arise from renting the property. Other insurance, such as public liability insurance, may also be required, depending on the specific needs of the investor.

It’s important to discuss your policy with an insurance agent who is familiar with rental properties specifically so that you can understand which perils are covered and those that are not. Some policies will cover natural disasters while others may not, so there may be some scenarios where additional coverage may be necessary.

Compare the different types of insurance policies available to find the right coverage for your investment. Taking the time to understand the different insurance policies available can ensure that your rental property is adequately covered in the event of any unforeseen circumstances.

Interest rates

Interest rates play an important role when understanding the potential return on your rental property investment. For investors, it’s wise to think about how changes in interest rates can affect both the cost of borrowing and the net return on the investment.

When interest rates are higher, borrowing money for your rental property can be more expensive, which could potentially reduce your overall return. Conversely, when interest rates are lower, borrowing costs can be diminished and that can help to improve overall returns.

It is important to understand and monitor current and potential future changes in interest rates to ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of how your decision-making affects your return on investment. Researching various lenders, loan products and interest rate options are critical in helping to maximise your income from rental properties.

Tax consequences

When it comes to taxes, rental property owners in South Africa will need to consider the property transfer tax, capital gains tax and rental income tax. Property transfer tax is applicable when a rental property is purchased, while capital gains tax will apply when a rental property is sold. Rental income tax applies to the rental income received on a rental property, and the rate applicable will depend on the total amount earned.

Rental property owners should also be aware of the importance of keeping accurate records. Keeping a record of all income and expenses related to the rental property will ensure that taxes are properly calculated and paid, and will also help to provide evidence in the event of a dispute.

Finally, it is important to remember that any deductions claimed on a rental property must be in line with the South African Revenue Service’s requirements. Failing to adhere to these rules can result in a penalty, so it’s important to understand the rules and regulations before claiming any deductions.

By taking the time to research and understand the various taxes associated with rental property ownership, investors can make better-informed decisions and maximize their return on their rental property investment.

Property Types

Potential investors should research and understand the different types of rental properties available and consider their own risk tolerance and investment goals when choosing the right type of property for their needs. These property types include residential properties, student accommodation, retail properties, industrial properties, office buildings, and agricultural holdings. Each type of property has its unique features, merits, and risks.

Residential properties are typically single-family homes or multifamily dwellings like duplexes or townhouses. These properties are a popular investment option, as they tend to appreciate over time and provide a steady income. Student accommodation properties are geared towards providing housing for students.

Retail properties are typically used for retail businesses like stores, restaurants and cafes. Industrial properties are used for large-scale industrial operations, while office buildings are used for businesses with multiple employees. Finally, agricultural holdings are primarily used for the production of crops or livestock.

Real estate market conditions

Understanding the real estate market conditions is key. Investing in rental properties can be profitable when done correctly, but there are also risks you should be aware of.

Market fluctuations

It’s important to understand the fluctuations of the real estate market and how they will affect your potential investments. The housing market is constantly changing, so do your research to understand how new regulations and even local events can impact your investments.

Demand for rental properties

You must also consider the type of rental properties available on the market and their respective demand. Look into current trends to identify which rental property investments may yield the highest returns for you.

Keep in mind that certain types of rental properties will always be more desirable than others due to factors such as location or amenities offered. When investing in a rental property, you should have a clear idea of who is likely to use it and why they would choose it over other options.

Property Location

The location of your rental property is a critical factor in determining its success. You’ll need to be aware of the area’s competition while seeking out a property that stands out. Look for areas with strong job prospects and high population growth, as these types of areas tend to attract more tenants and provide higher returns on investments. It’s also important to consider how close your rental property is to amenities such as shopping centres and transport links – renters are often willing to pay more for properties located near these conveniences.

You may also want to consider any potential risks associated with the area where the rental property is located. Researching crime rates, potential disruptions due to nearby construction, and average rental rates in the area can help you determine if investing in rental property is worth the risk.

By researching both the neighbourhood and local market, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about which rental property is right for you. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to focus on finding a quality property that meets your needs while maximising profits.

Tenant profile

Choosing the right tenant is an important step in ensuring your rental property investment generates a steady income. The best tenants are those who show responsibility and commit to staying for a long period.

Screening Potential Tenants

Proper tenant screening ensures that you can trust them to pay rent on time and help keep the property in good condition. You should have a process in place that includes background checks, credit reports, and references.

Benefits of Good Tenants

Good tenants help you maintain the condition of your rental property, minimise vacancies, and ensure that you continue to receive a rental income. A well-maintained property will also give you an advantage in attracting good tenants for future rental units. This can lead to a higher return on investments through increased rental fees and less remodelling costs over time.

Property condition

If you’re investing in rental property, you need to be mindful of its condition. Before buying a property, take the time to inspect it thoroughly. Look out for damage that could affect the cost of renovation, such as any visible plumbing or electrical issues, as well as any signs of structural damage.

You should also consider any necessary repairs or upgrades that may be needed to make the property attractive to renters. This could include things like replacing an outdated kitchen appliance or updating a bathroom. Knowing what needs to be done can help you develop a realistic budget for your investment and set expectations for how much rent you can charge.


Renting out residential property is a big commitment. Not only do you need to consider the financial implications and potential for return on investment, but you must also comply with a range of legal obligations when it comes to renting out property.

These include:

  1. Developing a Rental Agreement

Before any tenant moves into your property, you must have a legally binding written agreement outlining the terms and conditions of their tenancy. This should include information such as rent amounts, due dates, and security deposits.

  1. Compliance With Tenancy Laws

You will be required to adhere to local or national laws when it comes to tenancy agreements and procedures like evictions and leases. This includes things like not discriminating against applicants based on certain characteristics (e.g. race or religion) and abiding by the minimum amount of notice required for eviction.

  1. Resolving Disputes

It’s important to be aware of any local tenancy dispute resolution services that may be available in case there are disputes between you and your tenants that need to be resolved promptly.

Property management

It is important to consider the services of a property manager. Property managers can provide a range of services which will simplify the process of owning rental property and ensure that your investment is well taken care of.

Property Managers can:

  • Oversee tenant selection and tenancy agreements
  • Handle all aspects of tenant relations
  • Collect rent payments
  • Handle maintenance and repair requests promptly
  • Ensure compliance with all local laws and regulations
  • Prepare and present financial statements for review

With a good property manager, you can free up time to focus on other areas of your investment. A reliable property manager will help to protect your investment by keeping track of all paperwork, collecting rent payments on time, and responding quickly to tenant needs. With their expertise, they can streamline the rental process from start to finish.

Resale value

One of the most important things to consider is the resale value of your investment. After all, you don’t want to find yourself with a property that’s worth less than what you put into it.

Fortunately, rental properties are typically more lucrative investments than they may initially seem. Here are a few ways that you can maximise your return on investment (ROI) when it comes to rental property:


One of the easiest ways to increase the resale value of your investment is through regular maintenance and upkeep. By making sure any necessary repairs are taken care of on time, and that your property remains in good condition, you can ensure that it will be worth more later down the road when it’s time to resell.


The location of a rental property can make or break its value. Factors like nearby amenities, safety rating and walkability have an impact on how desirable a neighbourhood is for potential renters –– and these factors will likely carry over to other buyers considering purchasing your property when it’s time for resell.


The type of renters you attract also affects the future value of your rental property. If you’re getting long-term tenants who take care of the space and always pay rent on time, chances are potential buyers will be drawn to your property for this same reason when it’s time for resale.

Mortgage Financing

It’s important to understand how mortgage financing works. Taking on a mortgage is a major commitment, and it requires a thorough understanding of the risks and rewards involved.

Mortgage financing options for rental properties in South Africa vary based on the type of loan, the amount of the loan, and the lender.

Home loans for example are traditional residential mortgage loans that can be used to buy or refinance rental properties. Most home loans have terms of up to 30 years and require a minimum down payment of 20%.

The terms and conditions of your loan will vary depending on your credit score, down payment amount, and debt-to-income ratio. Securing a competitive mortgage rate will help to decrease your monthly expenses while maximising your return on investment. It’s important to carefully explore different financing options available to you before committing to a loan.

Maintenance and repairs

There are several important maintenance and repair considerations to take into account. Depending on the location of your rental property and the laws in that area, you may also be responsible for making certain repairs that tenants may be unable to make themselves.


If a tenant reports a repair need, it is your job as the landlord to respond quickly and ensure the repairs are taken care of so the tenant can stay comfortable in their home. You should also inspect your rental property at least once a year for any small issues that may require fixing before they become larger problems and costly repairs.


Routine maintenance is essential for keeping your rental property in top condition, both inside and out. You should inspect all aspects of the home at least once a year – from checking smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms to testing appliances and examining roofing, plumbing and other systems.

Finally, always keep up with necessary landscaping such as mowing grass, and trimming trees and hedges – doing this shows potential tenants you take pride in providing them with a quality living space.


Investing in rental property can be a lucrative endeavour, but it is not without its risks and considerations. Before deciding to invest, it is important to understand the various aspects of the investment, such as financing options, legal concerns, and potential risks. Additionally, carefully research the local market, determine if you can cover the costs of owning and maintaining the property, and consider your desired rate of return and the potential for appreciation in the value of the property. By taking the time to thoroughly review the details of the investment, you can ensure that your foray into rental property investing is a profitable one.