I have recently been through house hunting excercise and i have evolved better learned now.
Let me share my experiences / lessons learnt which may benefit next expat in line looking for houses on rent in Addis Ababa.
1. Please ask for the TIN number and firm registration details from the agent / broker who aproaches you. By this simple filteration, you will get rid of touts.
2. Always rememeber that being an "Internations" member is no qualification for being a real friendly help. I have come across some utterly disorganised, resourceless time wasters through InterNations platform. Not all are bad ones, the bad ones are real nasty ones.
3. Always clarify about the mode of transport and who would be arranging it before fixing an appointment with any broker else you may land up in a situation where a herd of boys would make you walk a marathon in many showdy streets.
4. Click pictures room by room of the house you see during your first visit itself, else you will land up in a situation where you are shown different furniture / stuff and you get alltogether different / itmes completely removed.
5. Sign an agreement with explicite detail, and leave nothing to common sense (the most uncommon commodity) interpretations.
6. Clearly fix the commission before you move even an inch with the agent. You may encounter a demand for showing house (even if you dont rent it out) in the name of services charges.
7. Never tell your real budget to the agent, lest you will find that the whole world is available at that rate only an no lesser.
8. Make it crystal clear if there will be any co-occupants with you and if so, take all necessary details. In some cases, house owners stay in the service rooms and rent out the house. (i find it the most suffocating presence, keeping an eye on EACH & EVERY step of yours)
9. Try and avoid making a cash payment. Rather open an account in bank (which takes just Protected content and then transfer fund by Mobile Banking (digital mode).
10. Prepare a detailed list of inventory which you take over and click photographs of all the items (for varifying condition of item at the time of take over , and send these pictures by mail to the owner the same day you sign an agreement. NOte down water and electricity meters readings on the invetory list.
11. Insist and take over all the keys (usually three keys per lock) for all the locks in the house. If any key is missing, ask for replacement of lock but do not get satisfied with one key (as you are not sure who has that balance key)
12. Signing of agrement should take place at the house and immediately after that, take over house as a clean exchange. First prepare an inventory list (in duplicate), get it signed, then sign an agreement (in duplicate), and then only take over possession of the property.
BEWARE OF TOUTS using Internations as a platform. They use this platform to buy confidence of expats in the name of friendship,and later they will flood you with nonsense and waste your lot of time.
Do let me know if i can be of any help.