Before starting your property search, you need to consider the requirements that you have. Be very clear about where you’d like to live, what type of property you are hunting for, any amenities you need proximity to, and of course your available budget.
List Out Your Requirements
- Physical location
- House, flat, studio, or room
- The length of the possible tenancy period
- Unfurnished or furnished
- The number of bathrooms, bedrooms, and reception rooms
- Off-street parking
Establish Your Budget
Set up a reasonable and realistic budget before you stick to it. Letting agents typically market their rental properties by stating either the weekly or monthly rental price. Try to avoid the temptation (your own or the agent luring you) of looking at properties that are more than what you might comfortably afford.
On top of rental costs, you need to leave room in your budget for a variety of other related expenses. These can include:
- Your personal house contents insurance: you have to arrange this on your own to cover the personal belongings you own inside the property.
- Council tax: tenants are frequently responsible for the payment of this, so consult the landlord or agent for estimated costs.
- Service charges and utility bills: if a property is a serviced apartment or part of a block of flats, there might be service charges to pay. You need to clarify with the landlord or agent what’s included with the rent or will be an additional charge. Don’t underestimate how much your heating and electricity will add up to – though if you work then you might want to factor in that you’ll be relying on your office heating to keep you warm throughout the day!
- Deposit: this is usually equal to one month’s rent.
- Removal costs: this costs must be budgeted for the hiring of a removal company.
Deciding On Your Location
There are many factors that need considering when the time comes to consider the property location. It’s crucial that you prioritise the things most crucial to you as they relate to location, prior to starting your search, given how this will eventually save a lot of time.
Various Other Rental Factors
One advantage of renting a flat or house is how many options the market has. However, a lot is going to depend on your own individual situation and the life stage you’re in. You should probably consider:
- A flat or house with sole tenancy: where a family or just one person are the property’s only tenants.
- A flat or house share: this is when a couple or person might rent one room in a property that’s already occupied by other tenants. It can also be when a group of some friends share occupancy so they can split the rent amongst themselves.
- Lodging: this is renting one room through a private property owner that also resides on the property.
- Purpose-built rental accommodations: these are homes that have communal areas like on-site gyms or concierge desks.
A lot of rental properties are going to be listed as either being unfurnished or furnished. In some circumstances, a landlord might be flexible in letting you choose which one you want.
- Make sure that any agents you wind up dealing with are members of ARLA, or Association of Residential Letting Agents, since they have to adhere to a code of practice.
- It’s worth it to contact just as many letting agents as you can possibly find in your community to have the greatest odds of finding rental properties.
You should know that even after you find a rental property, a letting agent is likely to charge fees for handling the administrative work involved, like checking references. Such administrative costs might range from as low as £25 to as high as £150 or even more. This will depend on the location, property, and agent. Additionally, they might also ask for holding deposits from £50 up to £200 or higher in order to secure the property for you. This subsequently gets deducted from the first month of rent. Given how much these costs might vary, it’s good to establish their specific values with the agent as soon as you can while searching.
Before you start the work of viewing any property, be sure that you and the agent are clear the flat or house meets your listed requirements so no one’s time is wasted. While you spend time looking at an unsuitable property, you might miss out on one which is perfect for you.