In this series of articles, we look at the important issues for Sellers, Buyers, Tenants & Landlords.
The checklists provide an easy frame of reference for the most common situations, and although the lists are not definitive, they serve as a good starting point.
Renting a property and turning it into a home is a major factor in ‘quality of life’ and ‘satisfaction’ levels, especially for someone arriving in a new country.
Finding that property is not easy. There is a limited choice in Macau when it comes to rental apartments, and the good ones tend to rent very quickly.
Decide who is going to represent you ?
Narrow down the location and price that you want to pay
Get a list of the properties that fit that description
Take your checklist of requirements
Know what the owner can & cannot improve in the property
Make your offer
Sign the contract and start the lease
As always, you must first find an agent that you can trust, and the agent should be able to handle all of the business on this checklist.
You hire and pay for an agent, so again it's up to you whether you want to pay for a little effort or a bigger one.
The rental property choice in Macau is quite limited, and you would normally start with a simple question of location. Coloane, Taipa or Macau ?
Once you have an idea of the location, you then have to think about price. How much do you want to pay ? Nobody wants to pay more than they have to, and obviously you are looking for the best value for money you can find.
Nowadays you are more likely to find a bargain in downtown Macau than in Central Taipa.
Your agent should be able to pass on information of properties that fit the requirements, so you are able to compare property specifications with each other (Size, no of bedrooms, price etc).
Obviously you will want to visit an apartment before you rent it.
As we pointed out last time, try to visit during daylight. Macau does look very different during the day, and renting at night can give you a false perspective of the neighborhood.
As a tenant, your requirements are likely to be more focused on immediate needs, and less focused on the long term.
For example, if you work until late and need to sleep until late morning, you may ask if there is any work going on in the building. If it's a new building, its likely there will be a lot of loud renovation work.
Checking such items of one-by-one will help you remain objective about the apartment.
Owners are usually motivated to make improvements in order to get a new agreement signed, but you will find them reluctant to spend a lot of money on a rental apartment.
If you have requirements of the owner, the best time to raise them is before signing a contract.
We do not recommend trying to make written offers for rental property.
By the time you have drafted an offer, the property is rented. However, you can CONFIRM the offer in writing with a brief e-mail once it has been verbally agreed.
Usually you would be expected to pay a security deposit to the owner equivalent to 2 months of the rental amount, and then the current months rent in advance.
As part of your offer, it's a good idea to negotiate on the time frame for the return of your rental deposit at the end of the agreement.
If you will be leaving Macau rather than moving to another property, its likely you will want to receive the deposit back prior to leaving, so within 48 hours of checking out.
Finally of course, you will sign the rental agreement and move into the property.
Contracts range from 1 page to 20 pages, and the key points to check include the price, the length of the contract, the termination clause, the security deposit terms and the general terms of maintenance and upkeep.
The final check when you move in is the ‘inventory’, or what’s in the apartment. Everything in there should be covered in the inventory list, and if there are any broken, damaged or missing items it’s wise to report them immediately.