Renting a property, whether it is your first time or not, can be a daunting process. Choosing somewhere to live is a big decision, and ultimately you will be tied into a tenancy for at least six months, probably twelve. Due to this, there are a few things you should be looking out for on viewings so that you make the right choice.
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What to Look for on Property Viewings
When you are attending a property viewing, you should be carefully considering the size, condition and location of the property, whether it is furnished or unfurnished, and what the neighbours are like. You should also make sure you know who will be managing the property, who the current utilities providers are and how much interest there is from other potential tenants.
Perhaps the biggest factor to consider when viewing a property is its location. Wherever you choose to rent you will likely be living for at least a year, so you need to make sure the location is both suited to you and is safe.
If you don’t work from home, consider the commute you will need to make to your place of work. Make sure you consider the journey time in rush hour! It is also worth looking at a crime map of the local area, to determine whether it is a location that has frequent burglaries or violent crimes.
If possible, try to find out what the neighbours are like when you view a property. You don’t necessarily need to meet them, although this is useful, but it is worth knowing whether the road or building is generally occupied by families, individuals, couples, students or another demographic.
Furnished vs. Unfurnished
Most properties are advertised as either furnished or unfurnished, and so you will likely have an indication of this before you view the property. Having said this, if the property is being let furnished then the current tenant will likely have some of their own furniture too, so it is worth finding out exactly what furniture will be staying in the property when the current tenant moves out.
Check the general condition of the property while you are there. Ask the following questions:
● Is there any damp or mould visible on the walls or ceiling?
● Is the flooring (particularly carpet) in good condition?
● Do the walls need re-painting?
● Are there chipped or cracked tiles in the kitchen or bathroom?
None of these are deal-breakers, but you need to know about them before you move in. It is work asking your letting agent whether the landlord intends to carry out any maintenance work after the current tenant has moved out.
The Property Manager
Ask the letting agent whether their agency will be responsible for managing the property, or whether the landlord does it themselves. Either way is fine, but you need to know this before signing the tenancy agreement so that you know who to contact if an issue arises.
The Communal Areas
Ask the letting agent about the communal areas, if there are any. If the property you are viewing is in a block of flats, then ask about a communal terrace or garden space, and who is responsible for managing the communal hallways, staircases and lift.
The Current Utilities Providers
Before committing to a rental property, check who the current utilities providers are. Some providers, especially those of Wi-Fi and broadband, may not cover certain areas. If you work from home, for example, and a strong connection is important to you then you will need to make sure you do research on this.
Other Interest in the Property
Lastly, you’ll want to get an idea of the timescale you have to make a decision. The rental market ebbs and flows throughout the year, but generally demand is quite high. This means that you risk having the property swept out from under your feet if you take too long to make a decision! If you’re confident that a property is right for you, ask the letting agent if you can pay a holding deposit to take the property off the market.