13 January 2017

Renting; The ins and outs



I decided to write this as me and my boyfriend have recently applied for our first home, which we get the keys for on the 27th (expect to see home tour posts, and photos). But, in the process leading up to finding our first home, we literally had no clue where to start, or what hidden costs there were in renting.
There is so much involved in renting a property, and it’s definitely not easy sailing. So I thought I’d write a post on things you should be aware of if you’re thinking of renting your first property.

The costs

The costs were a big shock to us. I’d say you need at least £2,000, and that’s before you even move into the place and start furnishing.

The reason being, is that you will be charge applicancy fees, a deposit/bond, and the first month’s rent (this is usually standard practice amongst most letting agencies we found). And then, unless you’re lucky enough to already have furniture you can take, or savings, or family/friends to help, you also need to furnish the place (washing machine, fridge, freezer, kettle, microwave, sofas, beds etc.) And this can be a huge cost on top of what you have already paid just to get the place.

I’ll use what we had to pay as an example;

Our applicant fees were £300, and that was for me and my boyfriend to apply. It was £200 if one person was to apply on their own. This had to be paid upon filling out the forms to apply for the property, so the letting agency can perform credit checks, phone references etc.

This is a little high in regards to applicant fees, but when we were looking, they can range anywhere from £100-£450, and then if you have a guarantor, that’s another £100 on top of that too.

Once we applied, we found out the next day we had got the house, they shortly after sent over an email with all the tenancy agreements and such, and also the cost we would have to pay upfront on the day.

This broke down into two costs, a deposit/bond which was the equivalent of one month’s rent (£600) with an extra £100 on top of this. And then another cost of one month’s rent in advance, meaning that the total cost to pay before we could even move into the property, is £1,300 plus the £300 we had already paid.

So in total, the costs before furnishing the property/moving in, were £1,600. This is why I would definitely advise saving if you are looking at renting for the first time.

The process of finding a home

Another issue we faced was how difficult it was to even find a home in the first place. We knew were we wanted to live (Leicester), so the next thing was to research on websites like Zoopla and Right Move for homes that we could afford.

Another thing I would advise before you start looking, is to go through all your current finances and bills and work out how much rent you can afford to pay on a property, and whether you would prefer a house or a flat.

We were not too fussed on whether it was a house or a flat, but of course we would have slightly preferred a house. We then worked out that the max we could afford on rent is £600 per month. So we only looked a properties that fell within this price bracket.

This left us with mostly flats, and a few houses.

Then, once you look at homes on the website, which in itself can be tricky (as photos do not do justice to the homes, they can leave out photos of certain areas if they know it will put people off booking viewings, or the photos can be awful so you can’t actually tell whether the home is nice or not, so sometimes it can be a gamble) you then need to book viewings.

Once you have viewed the property, you need to decide whether you like the place enough to apply, but before you do this it’s always important to ask whether they have had many applicants already, or many viewings.

If they have had lots of viewings, but no applicants, and you love the place, then apply as soon as you can. If they have had applicants, I wouldn’t personally apply, as they should have taken the property off the market once the let had been agreed (they had accepted someone’s application and were running all the checks) so I would personally advise to not apply for homes where they have already had applicants, as you run the risk of wasting up to £300, which you won’t get back.

We were quite lucky in the sense that we were one of the first couples to view the house, and we had the money to apply the same day. So they took the property off the market so no more viewings would be booked and no one else could apply.

Credit checks and references

Another thing to be aware of is that once you apply, the letting agency will run credit checks on you, and phone up/email the references you put down on your applicancy form. They will also be checking up with your references so make sure you try and put someone appropriate down, like your employer for instance.

Usually credit checks are to just make sure you have a regular income, have never been bankrupt and don’t have lots of loans etc. But, if your credit score is awful/non-existent, your application may be declined. You can also put a guarantor on your application if you are worried about your credit score, but this doesn’t guarantee that you will be accepted.

You can find out what your credit score is on free sites like Experian or Clear Score.

Other things to consider

Renting can be quite a hard and lengthy process, myself and my partner were quite lucky with ours, we applied and got accepted the next day.

It’s important to find out everything you can about renting so you’re prepared for the costs, what renting entails etc.

It’s also important to carefully read your tenancy agreement, as this will outline all the rules/restrictions of what you can and cannot do within the property. For example, you can’t re-decorate without permission from the landlord (but chances are they will say no), no pets is a very common rule, they also prefer none smokers too. We can’t do simple things like hang wet washing on the radiators without permission from our landlord. So, it’s very important that you read your tenancy agreement, because if you do anything without permission, you can make your tenancy void, or be charged costs.

There are plus sides to renting, in the sense that it can work out to be a lot cheaper than getting a mortgage, you can leave, within reason, whenever you want, so you are not tied down to the property. If anything breaks (boilers, appliances etc. the landlord or letting agency will replace or fix them with no cost to yourself (however you will have to ensure this is the case). And, one of the biggest perks, is you get to experience living on your own for the first time, which is so exciting.

If you have any questions that were not answered in this post, please leave a comment, I will happily help as best as I can!

And, as always, stay peachy.
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2 comments

  1. Thank you so much for this. Me and my boyfriend are seriously starting to look at living together, but no one ever tells you this side of it!

    Beka. xo | littleworldofbeka

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    Replies
    1. I'm so happy I could help! It's worth it in the end but I just wanted people to know what to expect! 💕

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