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Essential Advice on How to Find a Property to Rent

Phi Spencer

By Phil Spencer

Looking for a house to rent?

Renting requires some careful thought.

While you don’t own the property, you’re still establishing your life somewhere new. It can be a daunting process!

You’re not only looking for the right home, but also the right environment. Have you done your research on the area and local amenities?

Here’s some essential advice on how to find a property to rent.

Renting a home advice

Before signing any contracts or agreeing to rent prices, you’ll need to ensure you’ve found the right property for you.

Here's some renting a home advice for when you begin your rental property search:

Know what you’re looking for

While it’s important not to have too many strict rules on what you’re looking for, it helps to know what you want.

When it comes to finding a property to rent, you need to think about:

• What you can afford
• The size you need
• Where you want to live

Also, have an idea of what local amenities, facilities and transport links you need nearby.

Are you living alone or with others? Do you want the property to be furnished or unfurnished? It’s important to consider every avenue when looking for a house to rent.

If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, you’ll waste time viewing properties you have no interest in. In the fast-moving world of renting, it’s important to move quickly!

Be flexible

While knowing what you want from your rental property is essential, so is being flexible.

Finding a good property at a reasonable rent might result in a few compromises. Don’t rule a property out for trivial reasons!

Don’t only look online

While property listing websites like Zoopla are useful when you need a property to rent, they’re not your only option.

Asking for recommendations is a great way to find a place to rent. Listen to the advice of friends and family! It’s likely you’ll come across places you wouldn’t have looked at otherwise.

Questions to ask the letting agent

When looking for a house to rent, it’s essential to ask the letting agent or landlord plenty of questions.

This is your opportunity to really get to know the property, so don’t leave any stone unturned. Here are some examples of the most important questions to ask:

How long is the landlord renting the property out for?

You don’t want to fall in love with a property, only to find the landlord is moving back in after 6 months.

It’s also worth understanding the tenancy agreement and how long you’ll be tied into the contract.

If you’re only looking for a short-term let, you don’t want to sign a lengthy contract!

How long has the property been empty for?

Alarm bells should start ringing if a property looks good online, but has been empty for a long time with numerous price reductions.

The length of time the property has been empty can give you some room for rent negotiation.

How much is the rent?

Budget is one of the most important aspects when it comes to renting. Ensure you’re aware of how much money you’ll be parting with each month.

It sounds simple, but is too often forgotten!

Are you allowed pets?

If you own a pet, it's important to establish whether you'll be allowed to keep them in the rental property. This can make or break your decision to choose the property!

What to look for when viewing a property

After you’ve finished your research, it’s time to start viewings.

When you get to the property, there are some vital things to look out for. Here’s an essential checklist:

• Are the outside bins overflowing?
• Do the neighbouring properties look run down and unkept?
• Who’s responsible for managing the communal area?
• Are there any signs of damage?
• Are there any signs of damp?
• Are there any signs of old leaks showing on the floors, walls and ceilings?
• Does the property look well-maintained?
• What are the storage options? Ensure the landlord isn’t using the garage/loft to store their own belongings
• Does the property come furnished?
• Is there an inventory? What furniture is staying?
• Will the white goods remain within the property?

Scrutinise the property and surrounding area

Location is more important than the property itself. When it comes to viewing a rental property, you’re also looking at the area you’ll be living in.

Look very carefully at the particulars. Is the property next to train, tube or tram track? Are there any developments taking place close by?

Online searches of the area will give you a general idea of what’s around, though this will focus more on restaurants, cafes and gyms.

Dig a little deeper

You should know everything about a property and the area before you move in. Phil Spencer's Property Report contains information on local valuations and rental estimates to make sure you are not paying over the odds for a property.

In addition the report details local crime types and levels, and school rankings and information, enabling you to make a more informed decision about your next home choice. Get your full report here.

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