Finding an ideal rental home is never a straightforward process, and much like any other shopping venture, you’ll need to know exactly what you’re looking for. Here’s a handy guide to help you get started on your search...
Think about your fundamental needs
One of the most important steps in finding a home to rent is deciding on ‘must haves’ for the property. You shouldn’t compromise on anything that is integral to your way of life, and you should look for a home that complements your lifestyle best. For example, if you drive to work every day, your home will need to provide sufficient and safe parking close to the property. Fulfilling your needs is extremely important, as you won’t want to live somewhere very long if you feel as though you are being inconvenienced daily.
However, although you can certainly find a suitable home on the market, it’s still important to keep an open mind and be realistic about what you really need. For example, if a garden space will overstretch your budget, it might be better to look for a home with nearby green space instead.
Consider other locations
Although you may want to stay close to friends and family or remain in a familiar area, it’s always good to keep your options open and let your budget guide your search. There may be more affordable homes closer to your workplace or school on the market, so make sure to broaden your horizons and open up to the possibility of getting to know a slightly different location.
Check what the landlord is looking for
Don’t waste any time on properties that you will not be able to rent. For example, if you’re a working professional looking for a house share, try to avoid student listings as your application will not be accepted for this property type. Similarly, if you have a pet, you will need to look out for pet-friendly listings or ask the agent in your viewing request if pets are allowed if you cannot find this information in the description.
Attend plenty of viewings
You might get lucky and fall in love with the first property you view, but for most people this probably won’t be the case. It’s important to keep your schedule open for booking viewings, as the market is extremely competitive right now, and you’ll need to act quick if you see a property online that’s just right. However, you should only book viewings for homes that have real potential, as time wasted on looking at unsuitable homes could’ve been spent finding the ideal place to live.
Following our last point, if you find a great property within your budget, you may want to snatch it up before someone else does. Demand for rental homes is at an all-time high, and this means you will have to come to your final decision quickly before another applicant beats you to it. On the contrary, if a home isn’t right for you, make sure to get back on the ball fast and return to your search before more suitable homes are taken off the market.
Get your paperwork ready
Once your application is accepted, the scramble to find all the necessary paperwork is never fun, and you may end up stalling your move-in date if something is missing from your application. It’s always better to have all your documents prepared in advance, these typically include:
- Your ID (a UK passport or a valid driving license coupled with a birth certificate)
- Proof of address
- Contact details of your guarantor
- Bank statements from the past three months
- Reference from your current landlord/character reference
- Reference from your employer
Remember that there’s plenty of fish in the sea
If the home you really wanted becomes unavailable, try not to panic or feel too dejected. There are plenty of options on the market, and having tunnel-vision is a way of setting yourself up for disappointment. Keep an open mind and keep looking. The right house or flat will be waiting for you elsewhere – so there’s no need to call off your search at the first hurdle.
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