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How to go from Tenant to Landlord in 5 steps

Many people go through life renting their home and remaining a tenant rather than owning their own home and then transitioning to becoming a landlord due.

In this article I will endeavour to remove the obstacles to home ownership and show you how you can progress from tenant to property owner to landlord in 5 steps!  - Climbing the property ladder.

Lets look at the 5 steps to transition from tenant to landlord.

This is a process of taking an educated steps rather than blind leaps of faith into the realm of property ownership.

Step 1 Gaining Confidence

The concept of owning, paying for and maintaining a property can be somewhat intimidating. Keeping the property maintained correctly, and making bond repayments every month for 30 years! It seems far too impossible to achieve, so millions of people settle for renting for the rest of their lives.


Owning a property requires that you maintain the property correctly and attend to repairs and planned maintenance. It really helps if you are quite handy and can do basic electrical and plumbing type repairs. But it is not essential, there are many professional handymen, plumbers, electricians etc out there. My advice is to only work with handymen that have been referred to you, but when this is not possible, we have our friend Mr Google

Finding a service provider with a good reputation is a simple matter of a Google search for a handyman in your area, and then looking at their Google review.

Monthly bond payments for 20 or 30 years!

I recall signing the bond finance contract on my first house and wondering how I was going to be able to pay every month without fail for 20 years. The simple fact of the matter is that you have to live somewhere, so no matter where you live you will be paying rent or a bond.

 If you remain a tenant forever, you will be paying rent forever and the rent keeps going up!

As an owner you pay your own bond, as a tenant, you are paying your landlords bond for him.

The main monthly difference between renting and owning is that your monthly bond repayment stays fairly similar for the 30 years. It will move up and down with the interest rate, but overall, because of inflation it will feel easier and easier every year.

On the other hand, you can guarantee that your monthly rental will always feel like a lot, as rentals generally increase every year. 

Pay the same rent for 30 years!

By way of an example, I paid R140 000 for a townhouse in 2001 and my first tenant paid a rental of R2 200 per month.

19 years later:  As an owner my bond is almost paid up and my monthly bond repayment is R902 per month.

19 years later:  As a tenant you will be paying a rental of R6500 which will increase in a few months time.

This simple example, makes it rather obvious, that owning is far preferable to renting!

Step 2 Overcome the Fear of making mistakes

“Property fail” stories abound and many people do not know how to choose the right type of property, the correct location, or the correct price so they settle for being flexible and renting. Renting is what they know!

What if don’t like my neighbours?

What if the area goes bad?

 What if pay too much for the property?

These are extremely good questions to ask and go beyond the scope of this article. However I recently wrote a definitive guide to the first time home buyer which answers most of these questions. 

Step 3 Establish the monthly costs – can I afford it?

You want to avoid nasty surprises and make an informed decision that fits your budget. Establishing the actual monthly costs of ownership is therefore essential.  I have heard many stories of agents supplying only partial information or even false information in an effort to make a sale. So when buying, the onus is on the buyer to be careful. “Let buyer beware” is the mantra, so do your homework! 

 The problem that immediately arises is that unless you have sufficient property knowledge or experience, you are unable to establish all the ‘hidden” costs. Again, the first time buyer guide can be a big help.  

For example, when buying a cluster unit, you will have to establish the following monthly costs:

  • Bond repayment – Bank or bond originator
  • Home owners levy – check a  recent levy accout
  • Rates – check a recent rates account
  • Municipal utility charges (water and sewer) – get a recent account of the property you are buying
  • Electricity charges  - get a recent account

Don’t settle for and estimate or what the agent thinks the costs are, insist on copies of recent levy and rates accounts.

4  Getting Bond Finance

How to get a bond is the next question? Will I be able to qualify for bond finance? What will it cost me? Does the bond go up every year like rentals do?

To answer these questions, I recently  interviewed Rodney Reynard, a really experienced bond originator, and what he shared in 3 easy steps will blow you away!

We covered, just how easy it was to successfully qualify and apply for a bond!

How bond origination works

How to apply,

How to qualify for a bond,

What your credit score

How to improve your credit score.

What your score is and how to improve it

Bank affordability requirements, and much more.

We covered a real life example. This is interview is a must watch 3 steps to get a bond is filled with golden nuggets of information for anybody about to apply for bond finance  

5 How to become a landlord – climbing the property ladder.

Buy assets and never sell them is the key to wealth creation.

become an property owner

Step one is to buy your first property to live in.

Attention must be paid to make sure it is easily lettable for when that day comes that you expand out of it into a larger or better located property.

When you upgrade your own home and keep the first property as an investment is where the magic happens. Suddenly you find yourself in the position of being a landlord.

This means that a tenant will now continue to pay of the balance of your bond, and you start the privileged journey of being a landlord. You are climbing the Property ladder!

Once you see how easy it is, you can keep adding properties to your portfolio and watch your wealth grow.

Watch retirement come closer , watch your tenants pay for your children’s education, retire wealthy and in a manner to which you will like. 

Neil vorster

 Buy and never sell assets

The Golden rule of the property ladder - Buy and then never sell your assets. 

Selling your assets is like chopping down a mature fruit tree for firewood. 

All the incredible benefits of wealth creation through buy to let property investment are beyond the scope of this article, and I Invite you to explore our property blog   for more insight, tips and tricks to help you climb the property ladder and transition from Tenant - to Owner - to Landlord.  


Frequently asked questions:

How do I check my credit score?

Does is effect your score when a lender checks your credit score?

About the Author Neil Vorster

Neil Vorster is a property investment coach, investment author and co-founder of Organic Growth. Aerobatics pilot and cycling nut.

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