We share tips based on years of mediating in lettings!
The majority of clients who rent through us are ex-pats, employees of Embassies and international companies.
The supply of high-quality properties for rent in Zagreb is sufficient for the prospective tenants to have lots of choice. The flat or house for rent has to meet at least some basic criteria to be appealing, or better yet, it should be different from the average in order to achieve a premium price. An agency that has been working with ex-pats for years will give you advice on staging your property, and more importantly, access to such clients, who almost exclusively search through property agencies.
Consult an experienced real estate agency before listing your property. It has to be tidy and modernised. It doesn’t have to be packed with ‘designer’ fittings and equipment to make it easier to rent, but it has to be clean, neat and depersonalised. Having a new bathroom, kitchen and appliances always helps. Windows and doors should be in good condition. White walls are always the best option, as a neutral colour scheme will make the property appealing to a wider client base. If renting a flat, the condition of the building is also important. If at all possible, ensure that the staircase, roof and basement are maintained. Lastly, don’t overinvest into a property on an unattractive location, as there will be little or no return.
Furniture and equipment
A furnished or semi-furnished property is generally rents more quickly. Even the ad of at least a semi-furnished flat or house will be more noticeable. Many ex-pats no longer have budgets for relocating all their belongings. Several large companies and embassies continue to fund a full relocation, but the general trend is that furnished properties properties are easier to rent. There is no need to fully furnish the flat or house before a tenant is found. The kitchen and bathrooms should be fitted, including with appliances. It’s a good idea to furnish the living and dining areas, mount built-in wardrobes and install air-conditioning. Don't buy smaller pieces of furniture in advance, as well as tableware or bedding, as these are things that some tenants bring, and if not, you can buy them in a day. Furniture and fittings should be in neutral colour schemes to be as attractive to as many clients as possible. Any personal items belonging to the owner should be removed, including paintings.
Setting the right price, based on the quality-cost ratio is crucial. Properties on the high end of the price scale, for which the price isn’t justified, will not rent. Consult your real estate agency as it should know what is realistc. The location is always key, but also the micro-location, as the flat or house should be near public transport, and at least a smaller shop. A lower price will be achieved by properties in small, narrow streets, far from public transport. The vicinity of international schools is also important to ex-pats. Off street parking is often high on the list of criteria, so those properties which have a garage or at least a parking space will rent more easily and achieve a higher price. Outside space, even if just a small balcony, makes a flat more desirable. Flats on higher floors in building without a lift cannot cost the same as those in buildings with a lift, or on a lower floor. Any neglected property cannot be priced at the higher end.
The first impression is key with tenants, especially ex-pats who often see many properties in one day. Raise the blinds, turn on the lights, open the windows to let in the fresh air. Always clean up prior to the viewing. If the flat or house hasn’t been cleared of personal belongings, make sure to do this, as clutter leaves a bad impression. Leave the viewing to the agent, who understands the client's needs and what is important to him, and will tailor the presentation accordingly.
Real estate agencies which have been working with ex-pats for a long time should have robust, billingual Tenancy Agreement forms with all the necessary provisions protecting both contracual parties. Always consult your lawyer before signing the Agreement. The main obligations of the owners are the maintenance of the fixed components and installations in the property, and the elimination of any malfunctions resulting from force majeure. The owner must never enter the property without the tenant's authorisation and without notice, especially in the case of tenants who are diplomats, but has the right to show it to potential tenants during the notice period. The tenant continue to pay rent and utilities during the cancellation period. The Agreement regulates the rent amount, payment of utilities and other costs, duration of the lease and notice period etc. The owner should withhold the deposit due to early termination of the Agreement. Please note that ex-pats must be able to cancel their tenancy at any time due to transfer of their work from Croatia.