Last summer I moved out of my family home and into my first apartment. It was a hard decision to make because I knew that I was ready to live on my own but I didn’t have enough money for a deposit and I wouldn’t be able to get a mortgage to buy a property anyway. Renting was the only option but I’d spent years being told that its dead money and essentially paying someone elses mortgage and that stuck with me. However when I actually looked into it, I found that there are so many benefits to renting and while I’m saving to buy a home but needing my own space and independence, renting has proved itself to be perfect for me. I’ve written all about how I’m making my rented apartment a home while saving to buy and its coming along so nicely; I don’t regret moving here one little bit, its been the making of me and I’ve certainly learned a lot about being a tenant.
There are so many things to consider when you’re renting a home and since this was my first time and on a quick, short timeframe, I learnt some of the dos and don’ts very quickly. In today’s post, I thought I’d share my top tips for renting your first home so that if you’re looking to move out, you’ll have an idea of what to look out for.
Choosing where you’re going to live is so important. The property needs to suit your needs but the area does too. Think about your commute to work and the distance away from your loved ones. What amenities would you like to have close by and what transport options are essential to you? When I was choosing the area that I wanted to live in, plenty of open space to look out over, being close to a metro station and having the gym, theatre or cinema and plenty of restaurants and pubs with live music within walking distance were high on my list of priorities. Choosing to move was an opportunity for socialising and getting out enjoying life to the fullest.
Make a list of your own location priorities and have them in order when you’re looking at areas.
Just like with your location priorities, its a good idea to make a list of the things that are important to you about the place that you are looking to move into so that when you’re viewing properties, you have a clear idea of what you want.
For me, I wanted an apartment and I didn’t want to be on the ground floor. Feeling safe and secure was a high priority for me over everything else, especially as I was moving out on my own. Light inside the home is a key factor for me as I work from home and find that I’m much more productive when the space I’m in has plenty of natural daylight but also, it makes the window of opportunity to take photographs for work far wider when its lighter for longer. I didn’t want a garden because I haven’t got the time nor the inclination to care for it but I loved the idea of a balcony or at the least, a french balcony to let in lots of light and fresh air. Since I work from home, having two bedrooms was essential for me so that I can have a clear division between my work and resting space.
It goes without saying that when you’re going to be renting your own property, you’ll have bills to pay. Some properties do come with a limited number of bills included within the rental payment but the vast majority of the time, the payment for the bills is for you to sort out yourself and if you don’t have an idea of how much you’re going to be paying before you sign on the dotted line, it could end up being a costly mistake.
To get as accurate an idea on the amount you’ll be paying as possible, its a good idea to check with the current tenant, landlord, estate agency or even a neighbour (if you spot them when you’re viewing the property and they seem friendly enough!) what they currently pay. Take into consideration water, gas, electric and council tax. Sometimes the rent on a property can seem pretty reasonable and then the council tax can be astronomical which is what happened to me.
The rent that I pay is high but its reasonable for the type of property I’m renting and the location but by god is the council tax an absolute joke! When I was moving in here, I’d checked with my friend who lives in an apartment not too far way (in an even more desirable location in my opinion!) to see what she was paying and I budgeted based on that figure. Little did I know that I would be paying so much more so I’d definitely check to see what council tax band the property is in and do some research online here to see what you’ll be paying. If you’re moving in on your own too then contact your local council to have your 25% single person discount applied to reduce the cost of your council tax further.
ON THE DAY
The day that you move in can be a huge mixture of emotions but however exciting and stressful it can seem, its important to keep calm, organised and see the move as a fresh start. Go through the property and make a list of any repairs or imperfections and take photographic evidence too. Make an inventory or check off items against your landlords inventory to make sure everything that they say is in the property is there so that when you come to move out, theres no disagreements between you both which can impact how much money you get back out of your bond.
Before you start to unpack, clean out the cupboards first. They might look clean but they probably wont be and you don’t know whats been kept in there before. Use this as an opportunity to deep clean the whole property before you start putting your things away. Don’t forget to clean out the fridge, oven, dishwasher and washing machine too, which you can buy special cleaning products for, really cheaply in places like Asda, B&M Bargains and Home Bargains. I even used the Buster plughole unblocker on all of the drains in my property from the kitchen and bathroom sinks to the bath and shower. This is a brilliant product that unblocks plugholes to remove blockages and dissolve hair, excess product, food and dirt to keep everything flowing freely.
Once your place is super clean, start moving your things in, starting with the essentials first. You’ll have your rented place feeling like a home in no time!
Thinking of renting? Save my top tips, your future self will thank you for them!
SHOP THE POST
Have you ever rented a property or are you a landlord yourself? What advice would you give to others renting for the first time?