I am no stranger to a rented property. I’ve lived in a total of 5 rented houses and I’m about to move into my 6th. I’d say that I’m pretty clued up on what to look for and what to consider when renting somewhere new and I often share my knowledge with my friends. So, why not share it with my blog? Of course, there’s so much to think about but for me these are the 10 things to consider before renting a property – without fail. If you think about all of the below, you don’t have much left to worry about.
Renting is underrated. We live in a time where buying a house is obsessed over and focused heavily on (even I’m guilty of that!), but there’s no shame in renting. You get to live your life where you want, independantly or with a friend/partner and have the flexibility to move towns/cities/countries as you’re not tied down to more than a 12 month contract. I see renting as the trial period to buying a house, you get to live the ‘having a house’ life and learn how to pay for the bills etc, before jumping into a life long commitment of a mortgage.
In no particular order (x-factor style), here are the 10 things to consider before renting a property:
Got a car? or 2? Find out if there’s a driveway big enough, allocated parking or street parking. Bear in mind that each of those locations alters the price of your car insurance. I’ve never been a fan of street parking, especially on a busy street. The risk of damage to your car is very high and I don’t fancy fixing my car instead of buying cute homeware accessories.
- The area
Think about the area and what there is surrounding. Schools? Main road? Church? Consider how busy the streets will be at peak times and the level of noise you’ll have to cope with. You certainly won’t be having an afternoon nap if you live near a school.
- View properties ASAP
Speaking from experience, view properties ASAP. If you spot a dreamy place on rightmove, I advise you don’t wait 2 weeks. You’ll miss out and receive that dreaded email from the estate agent letting you know the property has been let before you even got a look in.
- Be aware of the fees
Fees, those dreaded fees. Moving into a new place is always more expensive that you first think. Some estate agents are very upfront about what you’ll have to pay but if you find a property you like, check in with the agency to see what the cost of the fees are. You’ve got to pay the deposit which differs to properties/estate agents, the tenancy fee, the holding fee (tends to come out of your deposit fee), referencing fees and the inventory fee. There may be more but these have always been a definite. Skipping forward to the day you move out, do you have to pay for a professional cleaner to come in? Most likely. With that, make sure when you go in it’s been professional cleaned for you. You leave it how you find it.
- Consider the quality of property and find out what you’re responsible for
When viewing a property, consider the quality. Is the property in good condition? Well looked after? Does it need work? If you’re not happy with the dodgy paint work ask if that can be sorted. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. It’s important to make sure you’re happy with the state of the property before you move in. Most landlords will do a bit of maintenance in between tenants so find out what that is and if it’s happening. Also, find out what you’re responsible for. When it comes with white goods, what happens if they break down? Is it down to the landlord or down to you? Sometimes they will replace broken white goods, sometimes they won’t – it’s good to know who the responsbilities lay with.
- Be sure to have the funds to set yourself up (bills/furniture/bits and bobs)
Make sure when you move that your budget isn’t blown on rent and fees. You’ll need to set up bills and sometimes there’s installation fees and higher costs for the first couple of months. For example, some internet providers charge a £25 installation fee and when you pay for your TV license, it’s more expensive for the first 1-3 months then it is for the rest of the year. You may be looking at a long term direct debt of say £13 a month but not an immediate one. You also need to consider furniture which you may not already have. Sofas and beds can be pricey and you don’t want to leave yourself short of somewhere to sleep. Finally, I’d recommend having funds to set yourself up with the household items you need. Toilet roll, kitchen utensils/appliances, bedding, curtains, cleaning products etc.
- Van rental
If you do have enough furniture to fill your property, you’ll need to get it there. Unless you’re able to fit in all in your car (go you!) you’ll need to consider renting a van. Especially if you have a bed, mattress and sofa. Van rentals aren’t cheap (but also not overly expensive), so get a few quotes online and shop around. It’s always more expensive to rent a van and keep it overnight, so if you can get your move done in one day you’ll save yourself some money.
- Your commute to work
When you finally find somewhere you love, be sure to consider the commute to work. Even drive by at that peak time to see what the traffic build up is like. A 10 minute drive can easily turn into a 30 minute one at peak time. You can even google map your route at specific times of day to get an idea of timescale.
- Outside maintenance
A garden is lovely, until you have to look after it. If you have a private garden, you’re in charge of mowing that lawn and taming the weeds. If you’ve got a shared garden or communal area, find out about monthly or yearly fees you may have to pay to maintain that area.
- Can you afford it?
Make sure you can afford to rent a property. Pull together a rough spreadsheet of rent, bills, council tax, food, living costs and make sure you can afford it on the salary you have or combined if you live with someone. If you’re leaving yourself short at the end of the month, you either need to consider getting a roommate or finding a less costly place to live. It’s always expensive for the first 1 or 2 months of living somewhere new but once the dust and bills have settled – it’s vital you know you can afford it. I decided to put together a little list of rough costs to show you the possibly outgoings of renting. Not including food, petrol or having a social life.
Council Tax £130
TV license £14
Home insurance £20
Of course, bills are subject to usage/your provider, council tax depends on town/area and rent, well, that can be either reasonable or ridiculous. It’s always nice to have a rough idea of what you’ll have to fork out every month.
Read my personal catch up where I announced I was moving in with my boyfriend, here.