With the current dearth of mortgages for first time buyers and the need for a large deposit many people are turning to renting a home as an alternative to buying. But if you are thinking of renting you should not rush into choosing a property. The following 10 tips should help you make the right choice and save yourself a lot of stress in the process.
1 - Understand what you want/need
Before you even start looking for a home make a list of all the things that are important to you and have these needs clear in your mind during your search. Be specific on such things as budget, location, number of bedrooms and whether you will require parking. If you are not clear on what your looking for then you will be confused when it comes to making a final decision.
2 - Use the whole rental market
Don't just walk into the first High Street letting agent you come across but also check out private landlords and the internet sites. By broadening your search you will get a better feel for the market and the level of rental payments.
3 - Timing
Start looking at properties 3-4 weeks before you want to move in - any earlier you may miss out on a property you had your heart set on, any later and you might be cutting things a bit fine.
4 - Viewings
Always arrange viewings during the day, this will make spotting any problems easier as well as getting a good feel for such things as natural light and views. Once you have a short list of properties revisit these properties at night to check out the parking, if required, and the level of noise etc. Also bear in mind that often, when viewing, the property may be occupied and getting the current tenant to tidy up may be difficult, look past the everyday untidiness and try to picture what it would look like if you lived there. Don't try to look at too many properties in one day as you will just end up confused.
5 - Ask questions
If you are using a letting agent make sure you ask plenty of questions, they will have seen all the properties on their books and can help steer you towards a property suitable for you. Make sure you make enquiries about the area as well. It's all well and good finding a nice property but if the area is a bit seedy it could make your life hell. If you are dealing privately you need to be aware that their opinion of the property is not independent and may be misleading.
Once you have decided on a property you will need the following questions answered:
- How much is the rent?
- When is it due (weekly or monthly)?
- How much deposit is required?
- How much notice do you need to give if you want to leave?
- How much is the council tax if not included in the rent?
- How much are the water rates if not included in the rent?
- How is the property heated and how much were the recent bills?
- What are the neighbours like?
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The remaining tips from this article include details on negotiating, protecting your deposit and inventories among others things.