Wanting to fly the nest? Need some space of your own? Are you considering renting? There is no surprise the rental market is a popular place considering the rising cost of property and difficulty some may face in securing a mortgage.
For many, Renting is the perfect opportunity to move away from home and start afresh. It gives you a sense of independence without the commitment of owning a property. Many prefer it, as it means moving whenever you feel like it, and little responsibility for the likes of Boiler issues and damaged aspects.
But before you jump ship and rent a property, it is critical that you understand how the rental market works. So let’s get cracking. Read on to discover some tips that can help you to get started whilst looking for the perfect rental property for you.
Your credit score matters – There is only one place to begin, and this is with the financial side of things. It is important to get your credit report in good order before you start looking for a rental property. Nowadays, landlords and letting agencies will conduct checks before they agree to take you on as a tenant. These checks are designed to make sure that you are someone reliable to rent to. They will look at references from past landlords. Obviously, as a first-time renter, you won’t have these references, and so your credit score becomes even more important. If you have a poor credit rating, all hope is not lost, but you will be expected to either get a guarantor or pay six months upfront each time. A guarantor is someone that has a good credit rating and signs an agreement whereby they agree to pay your rent if you default. Therefore, you should only ask someone to do this if you feel comfortable and you know they are financially in the position to do so.
Budget effectively – Staying on the subject of money, you are going to need to budget effectively if you are planning to rent a property. A lot of people underestimate the importance of this. Yes, you are going to be paying a set amount of rent per month. Yes, the landlord is responsible for the vast majority of urgent maintenance matters. Nevertheless, you still need to budget. This is because there are a number of start-up costs associated with renting a property. To begin with, you are going to need to pay a deposit and you will have to pay admin fees to the letting agent, so you will need to accommodate this. Furthermore, you also need to be mindful of the fact that you will have set-up fees for any new services you are starting up, like television subscriptions. When you are calculating your monthly expenses, make sure you include everything from your utility bills to your council tax.
Consider your options carefully – When searching for a property, there are a number of key questions you need to ask yourself. This includes the following…
How far are you prepared to commute for work?
Do you prefer an urban setting closer to nightlife and restaurants or a quiet suburban street?
Is the property near local schools. Shops and other amenities?
Does the property cater to pets if you have them?
Is the property situated near to public transport links?
Do you prefer a property with a low maintenance outdoor area or a yard?
Do you need somewhere to park your car?
Do you want to rent a property with your partner or friend, on your own, or are you looking for a room in a shared house?
How many bathrooms and bedrooms do you need?
What type of property suits you?
How much can you afford to pay in rent?
Understand how leases work and read every term of the contract carefully – One of the biggest mistakes that people make is diving right in and signing a rental contract with little thought for how the process works. The first thing you need to do is make sure that you completely understand the lease market and how it operates. There are laws in place regarding what is the landlord’s responsibility and what is the tenant’s responsibility, for instance. Matters concerning repairs are often a sticking point for tenants. It is important to know that landlords are not expected to improve the property or change the decor. However, they are expected to ensure that all of your standard living needs are catered to, from sanitation to heating. If the boiler was to break in the middle of winter, your landlord would need to take action within 24 hours, as this is deemed an urgent matter. However, if the boiler was to break in the middle of summer, your landlord wouldn’t have to act as quickly because it’s not deemed as urgent. Nevertheless, the responsibility would still fall on his or her shoulders. You also need to make sure you read every term and condition of your contract carefully. If you don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to ask about it further. The last thing you want to do is end up signing up to something that has very restrictive terms and hidden fines and charges.
Search around for the best deal – Another tip is to take your time to search for the right property deal. Of course, there are instances whereby you do not have time on your side because you need to find a property by a certain date. However, if this does not apply to you and you can find a property at any date, use this to your advantage. There are lots of affordable houses for rent, it is simply a case of finding them. Moreover, you may find that some properties are advertised cheaper on other platforms. If a landlord has chosen to advertise via numerous platforms and letting agencies, they may have had to put the prices up at certain letting agents in order to cover the fees they charge. With that in mind, it is a good idea to do a quick search of the property in question on Google just to make sure it is not advertised cheaper anywhere else.
Make sure the property condition report and inventory matches up – When you move into the property, you will be given an inventory report and property condition report. This will state everything that is in the property. It will also feature photographs so you can see the condition of the property. It is vital that you check these thoroughly to make sure they match up with the property. The last thing you want to do is get blamed for something you did not do, especially when it will mean you have to pay for the repair.
Hopefully, you now feel more prepared to find the perfect rental property for you. There is no denying that the whole process can be a little bit complex and overwhelming when you look for somewhere to rent for the first time. The last thing you want to do is make a mistake or end up spending more money than you need to. This is why you need to approach the rental process with care and consider all of the advice that has been presented above.