With house prices at an unreasonable high, fewer and fewer of us are able to invest in property. But when it comes to renting, horror stories don’t just belong to the days of being a student. Follow our top tips to reduce the stress of finding a rental property.
1. Map your priorities
In London and other big cities, rooms come and go very quickly. Make sure you know exactly what you can and can’t compromise on before viewing a property. Most important factors may include location, public transport connections, cleanliness, housemates, having a communal room or even not having the bathroom next to the kitchen! That way you will hopefully be able to make a decision before someone else does.
2. Feeling Safe
Visit the area you are thinking of renting in after dark. This will help you tell whether you are going to feel safe travelling home either in the winter months, or after a night out with friends.
3. Book a day off work
Prime time for viewing properties is often in the evenings or at weekends. Sometimes it is worth booking a day off work and viewing several places over the course of one day. This will give you a few more hours to think before committing and also give you some properties to compare to each other.
4. Reactions from other Tenants
If you are shown around a property when the other tenants are home, how are they treated? Does the landlord let himself into the property with no warning? Are they surprised to see someone in the flat? Even better ask them how it is living there – primarily when the landlord or estate agent isn’t around.
5. Deposit online
Never hand over your deposit in cash. It’s not uncommon for people to have found a property online, met with the landlord and been pressured into handing over the money there and then through fear of losing out. First. make sure you have a contract that states the deposit will be logged into the ‘deposit protection scheme’. Once the contract is signed, transfer the money through online banking, where it can be tracked.
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Words: Nicola Cope