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Why it’s a Good Idea to Rent Before You Buy

Phi Spencer

By Phil Spencer

If you’re just getting on the property ladder, or you’re moving to a new area, you might be wondering whether to buy or rent.

While you may feel you have no other option but to rent, it doesn’t have to be a last resort! Here’s why it’s a good idea to rent before you buy.

The cost of moving house

According to research by, the average estimated cost of moving house in the UK is £8,451.49 – not including any deposit required!

The following moving costs are based upon buying and selling a property at the UK average price of £218,225 (January 2017).

The Cost of Buying

Stamp Duty




Legal Fees (Conveyancing)


Valuation Fee (for Mortgage)





The Cost of Selling

Estate Agents


Legal Fees (Conveyancing)







Basic Moving Costs

Removal Company


Postal Redirection




Renting or buying

Evidently, moving house can have serious financial implications. Therefore, buying or selling a home is not something you want to do often.

Here are some reasons why it’s a good idea to rent before you buy:

Area familiarisation

If you’re unfamiliar with an area, try renting before you buy.

You might be relocating to a new area for work reasons, or moving from the town to the country.

This approach allows you to keep your options open, without the costly financial expense of realising you have made a mistake and need to move again.

If you’re moving to a new area and you aren’t familiar with it, you don’t intuitively know the different areas. The reality of transport links or traffic routes may be different from what you initially perceived, and schools may not live up to expectations.

In other words, there are a host of things you only really find out when you live in an area.

If you’ve got a couple of locations in mind, consider short-term lets in the different areas, to get a feel for living in each.

Be mindful that short-term lets aren’t cheap! But, the additional short-term costs may help you make the right purchasing decision and save you money in the long run.

Also, by renting in the area, you will likely work your way onto the estate agent’s hot buyers list. This will give you the opportunity to view properties early, as you’re demonstrating your commitment to purchasing in the area.

Try before you buy

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or not, renting a property similar to the one you want to buy can help determine if it’s right for you.

You might find that a lower ground floor flat is not for you and you want to be on an upper floor, for example. Or, you may discover you need some outside space, whether that be a garden, roof terrace or balcony.

Also, you could ask the lettings agent what the chances are of you buying your rental, if you fall in love with it. It never hurts to ask!

Want to get to know an area? Whether you’re buying or renting, find out all you need to know with Phil Spencer's Property Report! A report contains information on everything from crime rates and neighbours to schools. Get your report now.


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