Housing and Accomodation

If you are looking for property to rent or purchase you will find that most of the properties are reasonably priced and you will find unfurnished and furnished accommodation to suit individual budgets.

The process of renting properties is similar to those in other countries, but you must ensure that you have all the information such as rental regulations, rights and responsibilities. There is however different types of properties available in the country and depending on what you choose the prices will also vary.

Flat: Flats vary in size and are available with 1-3 bedrooms

Town Houses: This is found in a complex of 20-30 homes and can be one floor or two floors. You will have a garden which is maintained by the complex and separate living quarters

Cluster Houses: This is also found in a complex but has facilities that are shared i.e. pools and club houses. It usually comes with a garden which needs to be maintained by the tenant.

Cottages: This is part of a large property usually rented or brought by families who are moving to the country.

Detached houses: A standard size property for families which are generally single stories

Bachelor Flat: One bedroom flat with a lounge, kitchen and bathroom

Villas: These are mainly in the suburbs of South Africa and have gardens

How to find property

Finding property in South Africa is quite straight forward and most advertisements are shown in local newspapers or online. Some expats do look for property online whilst in their home country as it enables them to get an idea of what the properties are like and what the prices are in different cities.

To assist you in your property search there are also many national and local estate agents that you can contact. Most of the lettings are done through real estate agents

Some estate agents include: Aida, National ink, Rawson, Seeff and Pam Golding.

South Africa has a large quantity of options and it shouldn’t take too long to find an apporppiate place which fits your lifestyle and budget.


South Africa has a selection of rental properties which can be found in local newspapers and on websites. Prices are reasonable and furnished properties comes with most things you would need such as washing machine, sofa, fridge etc, whereas unfurnished property comes with an oven and other goods.

When you have decided on an area to rent out a property, you will need to contact an estate agent although if you have found property some do prefer to do it privately with the landlord. When contacting an estate agent about an area and your budget, they will be able to give you a list of accommodation and schedule viewing for properties. You must keep in mind that estate agents do charge additional fees for registration and reference checks.

Once you have decided on a property that you like, you will be required to fill out a lease application and you must be able to prove that your monthly income is three times more than the rent each month. To secure the transaction you will need to pay one – two months deposits and the lease will be signed on either a one year which can be extended. If you want to rent for a shorter time you must inform the estate agent.

As well as the accommodation deposit, expats may be expected to pay for utilities such as electricity, telephone and water.

Buying property

Majority of the foreign nationals who move to South Africa will rent out accommodation whilst looking for housing properties to purchase especially the ones who are staying for a few years. Some expats would say that the process of buying property is more complicated and long than renting out accommodation but the benefit of moving to South Africa is that there are no limitations for foreign nationals to purchase property.

  1. When you are buying property it is highly recommended that you get a lawyer to represent you and assist you with the conveyance process, the estate agents and lawyer will then help investigate the property to make sure there are no outstanding payments or mortgages.
  2. Here are some steps to assist you in purchasing property in South Africa
  3. Expats will contact an estate agent for assistance on finding property that you may have seen. This will allow them to find out more information about it, the prices and mortgages.
  4. You may need to register with the local government before purchasing a property
  5. Once this has done, you can make a purchase offer and then pay a deposit on the property. The final price and deposit is usually agreed by the owner and buyer. The seller will then request a guarantee.
  6. A Voetstoets will be given which shows the deed of sale, once this is completed it transfers the ownership from the seller to the buyer
  7. Expat may be required to pay capital gains taxes on property if you are a non-resident. You will also pay a transfer duty which is up to 8% on the sale price along with a bond fee and a conveyance fee

Expats buying a property will need to take into consideration that they may be paying extra costs for bank fees, deeds office levies, transfer duties and conveyance fees.

If you decide to sell the house in the future you will need to pay capital gains tax which is subtracted from the selling price by the buyer who transfers this to the revenue services. You must also keep your deals receipt for it to be documented.

Mortgages in South Africa

If you need assistance in purchasing a house you may be eligible to get a mortgage also known as mortgage bond or bond in South Africa.

If you are granted a mortgage it will be no more than 30-33% of your gross income and rental income can be included if you have provided a copy of the tenancy agreement. The interest rates for mortgages are quite high and the maximum repayment is usually 20 years.

When you apply for a mortgage you will need to provide the following documents

  • Passport
  • Proof of address
  • South African reserve bank certificate
  • Proof of Income

Once an application has been made the lender will offer you a deal, and if you agree on this they will want to confirm income and the value of the property. The lawyer will then receive the loan and pay the vendor.