Love List

15 March 2018

So, you want to rent?

I moved out of my parents house around 1 and a half years ago now, and since then I've rented a few different times, and honestly there is so much I wish I knew before I started.
So, I thought I'd put everything I've learnt, all the tips and advice I have, into one post for you all!

Deposits, credit scores, the paperwork, there's so much you need to prepare for, some things you wouldn't even realise!

So, you've sat down and are googling away on sites, and you find a property you love the look of, and would love to live in, so, what's next?

Well, first things first, you will need to phone up, or email, the letting agency and ask to book an appointment to view the property. If you can, get someone to go along with you to this, whether it's the person you'll be living with, a parent, a friend etc.
Another thing I'd suggest here, is if you don't recognise the name of the letting agency, do some research! You may end up having to pay these people your hard earned money, so make sure you know who you're getting involved with.

You wouldn't buy something from a bookey looking online store, so why would you do the same with hundreds of pounds and your future home?

Now comes the actual visit.
You'll meet someone from the estate agents that will let you in and show you around the property. Depending on how popular that particular property is, you could be in a group of people, or on your own.
The biggest piece of advice I can give here, is to ask lots and lots of questions. If you're going to apply for this place, you want to know all you can about it so you don't waste your money (there's an applicants fee, but we'll get to that later).
Don't be afraid to be a little cheeky!
Some key things to ask:
How many people have viewed/applied for the property already? How long has the property been on the market? Is there parking available? What's the neighbourhood like? Is it children friendly? Local shops?

Also, while you're there, make sure you look inside every room! That means not just the obvious, but and cupboards, utility rooms, the garden/surrounding outside areas, even the attic if you can.

So, for the sake of this post, let's say you love the property and want to apply, this is where things can get a little 'risky'.
Hopefully, you'll be with a good letting agency that will be straight up with you in regards to if you're not the only ones that are applying for the house, that way you can assess whether you love the house enough to risk losing the majority, if not all, of the applicants fee.

If you do apply, this is where all the filling out of forms and credit checks come into place. You will fill out names, jobs, etc, on the form, and also pay the fee to apply. The estate agents will then perform credit checks on you to check your credit score, and may also phone your place of work to verify that you are who you say you are, and they can also phone for references too.

If you're going into the renting malarkey, it's important that you work on your finances and credit scoring beforehand, as this can be the make or break when it comes to being accepted to rent a property.

There are tonnes of free apps/websites you can use to regularly check up on your credit score, being sensible with your money and proving you can pay bills on time is the key to success here

So your application has been accepted, and you're given the go ahead that the property is yours to rent. You will now fill out any remaining paperwork (tenants agreements, deposit forms etc), and this is also, usually, the stage where you will pay the deposit/bond.

Here's a little rough breakdown of how much this is going to cost you:

A standard applicants fee can range anywhere from £50-£200 per person.

The deposit is usually made up of one months rent in advance plus a bond on top, this will vary lots as it depends on how much your paying for the property, but usually this will range between £700-£2000.

This is usually all you will have to pay at this stage, then once you've moved in, you will be paying your rent plus bills each month.

As an example for you, my first home, in total, cost us £1200 a month.

The only other thing to remember in terms of fees, is after your first tenancy agreement is up (the first one you sign before you move in is usually a 3 or 6 month long agreement), you will have to pay each time you extend/set a new one up with the estate agents.
To be honest, this is a ballache, but after the very first one, they usually extend them to last around 1-2 years before you'll need to renew them again.

Renting isn't by any means cheap, but it's a hell of a lot cheaper than paying £10,000+ for a mortgage!

Upon paying the deposit/bond, you will either receive the keys and paperwork on that day if the property is ready, or they will provide you with a date to come back in and collect everything/finish signing off any remaining documents (yeah, there's quite a bit of signing and reading involved).

You will receive quite a bit of paperwork when you collect your keys to move in, and it's usually copies of everything you've signed, and important things like the itinerary and the 'rules/guidelines' for the property that are put in place by the owner/estate agents.

Now, this bit is very important, assuming you have received an itinerary (a list of all the rooms/furniture/carpets/windows/doors etc, and the condition they're in), this is where I'll advise that the very first thing you do, before moving any furniture in, is go to your new home, and match up everything in the itinerary, and note down any discrepancies.

For example, if you notice that in the one of the rooms, a window has a crack on it, but this isn't mentioned in the itinerary, note it down and inform the estate agents so they can amend the itinerary as needed.
This ensures that they can't blame you for any damage that was there before you moved in if you ever move out (therefore reducing the risk of losing your bond/deposit too!).

It's also important that you read through your agreement with the landlord/owner, and read up on any rules put in place for the property.
This is extremely important, as these can range from who is responsible for the upkeep of the garden, to if you can dry your wet clothes on the radiators, all the way to if you're allowed pets.

Once you have done all of this, you can then relax, a little, and finally move into your new home! But of course, you will also have to prepare for setting up of all the accounts with your gas/electric/water/internet providers etc.

Just when you thought you could relax....

The rest is pretty much down to you now, just make sure you pay your bills each month, and it'll be smooth sailing from there on out...well, it should be anyway...

Final Thoughts:

  • Be prepared to not be able to have any pets if you're going into renting
  • Some places have no children policies
  • The estate agents will carry out regular checks every 6 months up to a year to make sure the property is kept clean, tidy, and that you haven't damaged anything
  • Always check who is responsible for repairing things in the property (boilers, radiators, etc.)
  • Make sure you (and whoever else is moving in) have good credit scores!
  • Save save save!

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