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Guide to Renting your First Property

Increasing numbers of young graduates will come out of university unable to purchase their own home yet unwilling to move back in with parents; we’re not known as ‘generation rent’ for nothing!

There’s a lot to consider when renting a property, and especially those that are renting for the first time are likely to need guidance on everything from viewing to choosing a property.

Our guide answers all the most frequently asked questions and the do’s and don’ts of renting a property for the very first time:

First things first, how to I choose a letting agent?

This is one of the most important moves you will ever make, so you must make sure you get it right.

Letting agents should always be ARLA registered; this means they belong to the letting industries governing body and hence must adhere to a strict code of practice, rules and regulations. Furthermore, all staff will therefore be fully trained and knowledgeable about the letting industry, so will be able to answer any questions you have and ensuring you will get the highest quality assistance and information.

The final benefit of registering with an ARLA agent is if something was to go wrong, you would have the option to complain to the ARLA who are likely to sort it out for you – saving you a whole host of extra stress that you shouldn’t have to deal with when renting a property.

Photo credit: Paul Maguire/Shutterstock

When should I register with a letting agent?

You should aim to register with a letting agent as far in advance as you possibly can – 3 months before you want to move is a good ballpark figure. If you leave yourself less than a month, then you will leave yourself little time to view properties; and may end up in a property with less of your preferred qualities than you could have had if you hadn’t had to compromise due to lack of time.

Where should I live?

Area is just as important as the property itself, and in order to choose where exactly to rent a home you need to determine what your priorities are. Do you want to be close to work? Do you need a tube station nearby so that you can go into central London on the weekends? Is it highly important to you to be near friends and family? All of the above are serious considerations when you’re deciding where you want to live.

It’s also a good idea to ask your agent to tell you more about the different areas available to you – for example which ones are best value for money, which have great open spaces for you to go for morning runs and which have bars and restaurants close by for you to spend your Friday nights.Morever its also good to know which are the best places  to rent in london  and how much you can afford to pay.

Again, it’s important to decide which things are the most important to you, as it’s unlikely that you’ll find an area that has all of your requirements (unless you have a huge budget!)

Who should be viewing the properties/how many people should I take with me?

Obviously everyone who is potentially going to move into the property should be present at the viewing so that they can offer their opinions and get a feel for the place to ensure that they would be happy living there.

Furthermore, it’s good to get an outsider (family member or close friend who knows you well) to come along for the viewing, as it’s good to get a different perspective as they may notice something that you’ve missed.

Saying that, an over-crowded viewing is never a good thing; too many people in a property can distract from the viewing and can make it appear over crowded, so it’s a good idea to limit it to less than five people.

When should I view the property?

Evenings and weekends tend to get booked up very quickly, so if you’re running short of time, it’s a good idea to take a day off work so that you can go and view all the properties in one day and get it over with in one go. That way you can also accurately compare properties as the number of variables is reduced (weather, mood etc.)

How many properties should I view?

It’s important to get the balance right here; more than five properties is too many, whereas viewing just a couple and making your decision is also a bad idea.

We recommend three or four as the perfect number; this way you will have seen enough to know what you’re looking for and you can be sure you haven’t missed something great. Although there isn’t any harm in seeing lots of properties, time constraints can be a problem. In this market if you take too long to decide you’re likely to have the property you were ‘umming and aahing’ over snapped up by someone else.

The trick is to see three or four within a couple of days and then act fast!!

Any last minute tips?

You’ll need to have references at the ready so that the landlord can speak to them and feel at ease that you’re a reliable tenant who isn’t going to miss rental payments or trash the property. Make sure you warn your referees that they may be getting a call so that they can be prepared.

If you are a student or still in a trial period of employment, it is likely that you will be asked to provide a guarantor, so it is good to get this all sorted out before you even start viewing properties – this speeds up the entire process.

Every adult wanting to rent a property in the UK needs to be able to prove that they have the right to rent; if you are a UK citizen or are from the European Union then all you need to provide is a valid passport to prove your right to rent.

Feature image credit: Pixelbliss/Shutterstock

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