Are you looking to downsize? Perhaps you're moving into a new area and want to see what it's like before you decide to buy? If so, renting a home will give you the flexibility and independence you need.
We appreciate that searching for a property can be overwhelming. After all, you need to carefully consider:
- Number of bedrooms
- Size of rooms
- Furnished or unfurnished?
You're bound to have a lot of unanswered questions. That's why we thought we'd share a few top tips to help and, hopefully, provide the answers to your burning questions.
- 1.Check your finances
Rule no.1 before you start house hunting is to calculate how much you can afford to spend on rent each month.
OK, so the average monthly cost of rent is 35% of your regular salary. But on top of monthly rent, you'll also need to budget for gas, electric, water, phone and internet connections – as well as a TV license and council tax (unless you're a student).
Another reason why it's important to check your finances is that you'll need to set aside enough money for food and essential household items (e.g. toothpaste, toilet rolls, shampoo, shower gel, etc.). You may also be required to pay a holding deposit to reserve the property or a refundable deposit as security against damage to the property.
- 2.Choose a reputable letting agent
Whether you're looking to rent for the first time, or you've rented lots of times in the past, it helps if you have a responsible and knowledgeable letting agent on board to help with your search.
Take Easylet, for example. They are leading letting agents Warrington and understand that renting a property can be both exciting and daunting at the same time. As such, their letting agents act as a third party between you and the landlord and will make sure that your queries or emergencies are dealt with efficiently.
Backed by a Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme, they ensure that you and your money for deposits and rent are protected. And using their unrivaled knowledge, they should be able to advice on any of the following:
- How long is the tenancy agreement for?
- How many viewings has the property had?
- Why are the current tenants leaving?
- Can the décor be changed?
- Are pets allowed?
- Is the property fully furnished?
- Are any bills included? If so, which ones?
- 3.Arrange a viewing
Once you've decided on a location, it's worth doing your research to find out how reliable the local transport is and whether there are any amenities close by, like supermarkets, sports facilities, shopping centers. Often, your letting agent should be able to answer your questions and tell you more about the area too.
Thanks to modern-day technology, it is possible to view potential properties online – flicking through the images of all rooms. However, it's just not the same as visiting the property in person.
Before you sign any contracts, you want to be confident that it's the right place for you and that everything is to your liking. Arranging a viewing will allow you to take a closer look at the condition of the property, keeping an eye out for damp patches, testing the plumbing and spotting any cracks or leaks.
Aside from this, visiting the house before you rent it will provide you with the peace of mind that the necessary safety measures are in place (i.e. smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, burglar alarms, high-quality window and door locks).
Bear these three tips in mind when searching for a property to rent and you should be able to narrow your options down.
Once you've found your ideal rental, your letting agent or landlord may ask you to provide a form of identification – usually a driving license or passport – to prove that you live in the UK and have the legal right to rent.
When you receive the agreement, make sure you read it carefully (even the small print!) and always know what your rights are as a tenant. Oh, and don't be afraid to report repairs to your letting agent. It's much easier, faster and cheaper to resolve an issue when it first arises than leaving it to fester.
And lastly, when the tenancy agreement comes to an end, make sure the property is left immaculate. It should be exactly as you found it on the day you arrived.