Tenants: Things to look out for when viewing a home
Before you decide on your next rental home, give this handy checklist a read – it might help you to make a more informed decision.
First things first, make sure you do your research!
- Make sure you search high and low for the right property using property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla. You might also want to check websites such as checkmystreeet.co.uk which will give you some useful information about the area.
- You also need to research the area, checking things like schools, commuting time, public transport, whether you’re under a flight path, etc. Try using Locrating to research schools and there’s a handy app for Rightmove to automatically get the commuting time for a property.
- Once you’ve found your ideal property, visit the street a few times to assess parking and how well lit the street is at night. You might also want to check the crime in the local area using Police.uk.
- You could also have a chat with the neighbours and get a feel for who they are, if you feel like you wouldn’t get on with the person then it might be a good idea to look elsewhere.
So, you’ve found your ideal property, the area looks great and the property’s details sound suitable, here’s some important questions to ask during your viewing:
- Who’s responsible for what? For example, in flats and apartments there are common areas that obviously need maintaining but are shared by everyone in the property.
- What’s included? We don’t necessarily mean furniture but ask about washing machines, fridges, curtains and blinds.
- Will the landlord allow decorating? Some landlords are very picky with what they allow tenants to change, some don’t allow any decoration. It might be worth getting a small list together of changes you’d like to make and ask the landlord before moving in.
- What’s the TV and Internet like? Do some broadband speed test for the area and check who the current suppliers are.
- How’s the heating and water? Check the boiler and maybe ask about its age (something over 10 years old can be classed as getting close to replacement). Also make sure to turn the hot water taps on and to test the shower. It might also be worth checking the Energy Performance Certificate as this will give you information on what energy performance related features are in the home.
- What’s the storage space like? This is especially important in new builds and smaller homes such as flats and apartments – sometimes the storage can be scarce so just be sure you have places for all your stuff! Also, don’t ignore the attic which people often overlook during viewings although can provide a great storage space.
- Is there any damp issues? Check the condition of the guttering and roofing, as much as possible without bringing a ladder. Are the gutters firmly attached? Can you spot any loose slates on the roof?
- What decorative order is the property in? A property that is clearly in need of repair work can suggest an unreliable landlord.
- Check for safety.
- Does the property have smoke and carbon monoxide alarms?
- Are the front and rear doors secure?
- Is there a burglar alarm?
- Does the building seem secure from the outside? Think how you’d get in if you left your keys inside – if it’s easy for you then it’s easy for a burglar.
- What’s the cost? You’ll probably already know about the rent, but make there are likely other fees to consider such as the deposit and the agent’s application fee. Obviously you’ll also need to consider affordability. For example, on a property with a monthly rent of £700, you’ll ideally need an income of £21,000.
We hope this was helpful, and if we can help at all then please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
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