Believe it or not, there is actually an art in trying to find a good property to rent, the initial one being, just don’t pick the first property you see!
You really do need to make a list of what you are looking for from the outset. Do you know in which location you would prefer to live? If you travel by car to and from work, it may very well be that shops and other facilities in close proximity to your home is not of major importance to you. However if you are one of the majority who likes those facilities on the doorstep, then you need to consider this point very carefully.
Let’s say that your ideal solution would be to live in the town centre, occupying say a two or three bedroomed apartment. However you must remember that an awful lot of shops close round about 6 o’clock and it can therefore be somewhat difficult to buy even a pint of milk should you run out in the evening. The advantage of course is you are close to all clubs, pubs and even restaurants.
Okay, you have settled on the location, albeit on the outskirts of the main city but you now have to consider can you afford the first property you have seen? Not only is there the monthly rent to consider, but you also have to look at utility costs, especially heating. If it is a large place then obviously it will require more heat, particularly if it is an old property. To give you a guideline of costs, you could use an amount equivalent to 35% of your monthly income just to cover the cost of the rent. This should leave you sufficient to pay for utilities and general household expenses, such as food and the like.
The next point to consider is the amount of deposit you will be required to place with the landlord through a Tenant Deposit Scheme. Usually the norm equates to one month’s rent but dependent upon the property, particularly where the property is new or has expensive furniture, the landlord may require a larger amount which could possibly be up to 3 months’ rent in advance. You need to make sure that you can afford this from the outset but also remember, you will have lost use of this money until the rental period has lapsed.
But how do you find a good property to rent in the first place?
This can be an interesting question since it would seem that the vast majority of landlords seldom deal direct themselves with the tenant. Instead, they appoint a Letting or Rental Agency to handle all matters on their behalf.
So the first thing to do is make a list of Letting Agencies that are in or around the area in which you hope to rent a property. There is no point in looking at an agency outside this area, since first of all they probably don’t know the area very well and secondly they probably don’t even have properties for rent in that area.
If you can, look at the websites of a number of letting agencies. Here you will be able to view the types of properties they have on their books and if any of these properties grab your attention, then contact the agency direct and arrange a viewing.
If you want to deal direct with the landlord, then you will find that most of them will advertise in the local press under the Classified Advertisement section. The drawback here is that you will probably only get a few words description of the property and there certainly will not be any photographs to give you an idea of what it looks like. However, if the location is right and the brief description of the property is of interest to you, then obviously you should contact the landlord direct and arrange to meet him at the property so that you can view it in more detail.
With all the developments in communications, and in particular the use of mobile apps, there are several on the market that will allow you to put in the postal code of the area where you are looking for a property. In return, the app uses GPS to look for properties to rent in the immediate vicinity. This will allow you to go direct to the property and have a look from the outside but the beauty of using a mobile app is this – you can set up exactly the type of property you seek and when a property “comes on the market” that meet your needs, you will be notified immediately. You can be sure that not all rental agencies will provide this service and inevitably if they do, it will only be because any previous applicants have turned the property down!
Always remember that in the sought after locations, you will not be the only person that is looking. If a property does come up, be ready to move and see it as quickly as possible. Believe me when I say that there will be many times if you do not move within the hour, you will be too late as another hungry tenant will have beaten you to the post.
Similarly, make sure you have as much documentation that is available with you. Letting agents and indeed landlords only make money on property that is producing rent and therefore they want to close a deal as quickly as possible. If you turn up armed with the appropriate documentation, such as an employer’s reference, bank details, personal references and any other similar paperwork that a landlord will require, this could well put you top of the list since speed is of ultimate importance.
Obviously you have to make your own checks and you will find other articles elsewhere within this website that you will give you a whole load of information as to what you should do as a prospective tenant.
Look carefully, move quickly and the ideal property will be yours, since you will have conquered the delicate art of finding a good property to rent.