If you’ve ever been familiar with the world of renting, you’ll know how quickly the market moves and how focused you have to be to stay on top of things.
It can be a whirlwind of stress, disappointment and confusion trying to find the best house or apartment that works for you.
To help you make sense of the madness that comes with apartment living, we’ve put together a rental property walkthrough of tips and tricks to guide you towards finding the property you really want.
This is our guide to finding the perfect rental property.
How to prepare before you begin your search
Before you throw yourself at property sites and house listings, ensure that you have your paperwork ready to go. The very best places won’t hang about on the market for long and, should you find one you like, you’ll need to act on it quickly.
Before you find that perfect property, be certain that you have:
- Valid Identification documents - passport, driving license
- Evidence of right to residency (if you aren’t a UK national)
- Evidence of current residency i.e. utility bill dated within last three months
- Tenant and guarantor references (if appropriate)
- Bank account details
- Employer details
- Initial funds for deposit, first month’s rent and/or holding fee whilst background checks are being run on you
You’ll need all this information to hand when the time comes to securing yourself with a house you’re excited about.
Steps to take to find a good rental property
Once you’ve gotten all of the details out of the way, it’s time to start hunting for that elusive house. But how do you go about it?
Establish your budget
It’s vital to determine what you can and cannot afford before falling in love with the priciest rental property on the market.
It’s a tough step backwards to lower your expectations later on when you’ve already caught an eye for those high-end options.
Every available place should be listed on the big property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla. Start your search from the comfort of your own living room and make an effort to shortlist the properties you like in the areas you’re interested in.
Do your homework on the following areas by getting a Move iQ property report which covers:
- Crime statistics
- Who lives in the surrounding area
- The shops and amenities nearby
- A guide on what it costs you in rent and utility bills to live in the area
Decide on alternative locations
Sometimes you have to look outside of your desired area for available properties. It’s important to be realistic, and worth keeping in mind that location isn’t always everything.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Will you need transport links?
- How much will it cost and how long will it take to commute door to door?
- How much will your council tax cost?
- Where do your friends live?
Establish what your priorities are
What you’re looking for out of your new home is just as important as where it is and how many bedrooms are on offer. Sometimes you might have to compromise on space or location in order to live the life you want.
Some useful things to consider:
- Good transport links. Can you get to work or out of town easily?
- Are you in the catchment area for a great school?
- Green space. Do you run? Have a dog? Enjoy being outdoors?
- Low cost of living. Renting in the city centre is going to be considerably more expensive than renting further out of town. Different boroughs will have varying council tax levels. Newer houses tend to be more energy efficient than older ones
- Can you still do your hobbies?
- Furnished or unfurnished
Make a good first impression
Don’t turn up to viewings hungover, smelling of alcohol or looking like you just got out of bed. The lettings agent is acting on behalf of the landlord and they’ll want to let the property to somebody capable of taking care of it.
If it looks like you can’t even look after yourself, you’ll be instantly rejected. To make sure you make a great impression, be on time, respectful of the property and whomever is showing you around, and ensure that you both look and act the part.
Want to learn more about properties, local areas and services? Phil Spencer's Property Report has information on everything you might need. Find out more here.