Are you just moving to Barbados on a 12-month welcome stamp visa, or are you already on the island and thinking of moving into a new apartment to rent on a long-term basis? When compared to other places around the globe, the rental process in Barbados is quite unique. And with the constant increase in the level at which expat clients arrive from various parts of the world, such as Canada, the USA, and Europe, we have deemed it necessary to write a new blog post about the best tips for securing your new rental property. Regarding the way and manner in which Barbados' real estate market is quite active, with not many options available to people, it is necessary to always be in a position to make quick and accurate decisions before losing out on your new home to other renters.
Expert advice is provided by Global Estate Agency Inc. and BarbadosExpatHomes.com with broker Junior Sparks, who has over 19 years of working experience in the real estate brokerage business, and has a long list of happy renter and landlord clients. Junior Sparks has not only been featured in one, but two episodes of HGTV's House Hunters International show. We will be taking you step-by-step through the whole rental process. Starting with finding the right real estate agent, scheduling viewing appointments, deciding on a rental and making an offer to signing the rental agreement, and moving into your new home.
Hire a Real Estate Agent and Schedule Viewings
Some people might be wondering why they should hire a real estate agent when they can just decide to find a new home all by themselves. However, by hiring a professional, reliable, and reputable agent, you will be able to search for the right property with seamless effort. Before hiring a real estate agent, ensure that your agent has a Barbados Real Estate License and must also be a member of the Barbados Estate Agents and Valuers Association (BEAVA).
In order to get better results, it is advisable to provide your agent with enough information, such as the number of bedrooms needed, whether it should be furnished or not, your rental budget, the amount of time you need the rental for and when you want to start, if you have kids or not, and other helpful information that can help the agent meet your expectations.
Due to the fact that Barbados is a relatively small island, it is essential to work with one agent rather than deal with multiple agents. This is because most professional and reputable agents are somewhat connected, as they tend to network with each other in order to offer their clients a wider selection of properties. In order to avoid your property search becoming duplicated, sending enquiries to various agents would not be the best option for you. Upon hiring an agent to represent you exclusively, ensure that your agent makes adequate enquiries and book viewings on your behalf. In cases where you contact any agent directly before having your exclusive agent do so, your agent will not be able to book any viewings with you through that agent as you contacted the other agent directly.
Decided On Which Property
If you have found a place that would work for you, make sure to ask your agent if there are any restrictions regarding pets or hanging clothes outside. Also, not all properties have insect screens installed, so check out the design of the windows to see if you could negotiate getting custom insect screens included in the rental or get approval from the landlord to have the screens installed at your cost. In cases in which the property is already furnished and you are planning on bringing in furniture of your own, ensure you make inquiries first to confirm if the landlord could help remove some of their furniture before signing the rental agreement, as some landlords will not be in a position to remove certain items from the property.
Making An Offer
As the Barbados real estate market is booming and inventory is on the low end, there are more renters than properties available. Make your offer count by offering a reasonable rental price or something relatively close to it. In order for the landlord to have a preview of who you are, you would be required to complete a rental application.
This application will include information concerning your offer amount, name, employment, family size, pets, and kids. In order to have a better chance of gaining approval from the landlord, you are required to provide adequate information, including a job letter. In cases where you are unemployed, you can consider providing a bank statement. After that, you should get feedback from the landlord via your agent within 24 to 72 hours.
Your Offer Has Been Accepted and Signing the Rental Agreement
Congratulations upon your approval. The rental agreement will be sent to you via your agent in order for you to review and sign it. Ensure you review the rental agreement before going ahead and signing it, as these are the terms and conditions associated with living in the landlord's property. To sign the rental agreement, you are required to pay the first month's rent and also the security deposit. And some might require you to pay an additional amount, which is the last month's rent. The security deposit is refunded back to you, as long as there's no damages or utilities owed.
Utilities and Moving In
After deciding on the property, signing the rental agreement, and making the initial payment, the next thing to do is arrange the utilities. Water is mostly always active, while other utilities such as electricity and the internet are subject to whether the landlord keeps both active. However, if you want the utilities to be available before moving in, you can talk to your real estate agent in advance in order to put them in place. Most of the time, it takes between 48 and 72 hours for the electricity to transfer from the landlord's account to that of the tenant, as this is dependent on the terms and conditions of the rental agreement.
In conclusion, hiring a reputable and reliable real estate agent is the basis of undergoing a smooth and easy rental process. After going through everything and moving in, the inventory list should be properly signed, including each item ticked off in cases where you are renting a furnished rental.