For everybody who is planning on moving to Cape Town, I wrote an article about how to move to Cape Town already earlier this year. As soon as you suceeded in finding a job, booking a flight and getting a valid visa, you’re facing the next challenge already: Finding an apartment. And that can be quite a mission in Cape Town.
When I first moved into a new flat, the apartment was one of the nicest ones I had ever seen. My flatmate wasn’t exactly one of the nicest people I ever met though. So, I was facing the challenge of finding a new flat in Cape Town already four weeks after my arrival.
I still remember that apartment in Bo-Kaap we looked at. It was more humid inside than outside. Or the nice apartment in Gardens, right next to the MiCity-Bus stop. It smelled of dead cat. Or the apartment on Darling Street… I could go on like this forever. But I bet you already got it: Finding an apartment in Cape Town is not so easy. So, how do you do it then?
Finding an apartment in Cape Town
The best place to start, are always your friends and friends of friends. Often they know about an apartment before it’s even advertised. But if you are new in town, you might not know so many people of course. So here you have some useful websites as well as Facebook groups:
I won’t lie to you: Cape Town is important. Prices are on German levels or even above I’d say. Also, be careful when looking at the rent, because often it’s without additional costs like electricity, etc.
So what do you have to calculate for the additional costs:
- Electricity (is mostly paid prepaid here. You should calculate 100-200 ZAR per month)
- Water (might be paid prepaid also, just like electricity. It’s around 50 ZAR per month)
- Internet (is quite expensive here. You can calculate 300 ZAR if you share, 600-800 ZAR if not)
- Some landlords might have a maid (you can calculate 100-200 ZAR per month)
Normally, the viewing takes place for a couple of hours at one day. Everybody who is interested can visit the apartment during these hours. To have a slight advantage compared to everbody else who is interested, make sure you have the following documents prepared:
- A 3-months bank statement
- A contract of employment
- References from former landlords
- A copy of your passport and visa
Before moving in
Now this is important: Do not transfer the deposit before you have done all the paperwork and the contract is signed by both parties! Scam can be a problem, especially when you look at an apartment via popular portals like Gumtree.
On the other hand, try to transfer the deposit as soon as possible after all paperwork is done. Otherwise, the landlord might just be afraid he got scammed and give the apartment to somebody on the waiting list.
In Cape Town, it’s quite easy to buy second-hand furniture. If you only plan on staying for a limited period of time, buying second-hand might pay out more than to buy new stuff at Mr. Price and other stores. I made the experience that new furniture in store is quite expensive as there is nothing like Ikea in Europe.
Second-Hand furniture can be bought here:
If you want to buy new stuff, try here:
I know that looking for an apartment in Cape Town can be quite frustrating sometimes. It can take long and you might have to invest a lot of time, money and energy. But don’t lose hope – eventually you will find the perfect apartment. And maybe you will just have a view as nice as ours 😉