Life Advice: Renting

I've been renting a flat with my boyfriend for just over a year now, it wasn't really planned and we had no idea what to expect, so we literally jumped head first and hoped for the best. Luckily for us we're now in the process of getting on the property ladder and finding somewhere to call 'Home' not 'The Flat.' But I thought I'd share our experience with you to help you in case your thinking of moving out and plan on renting.

So, you've decided you want to move out. Maybe it's because you want to move in with a friend or partner, or maybe your sick of your parents still treating you like a 10 year old. Or maybe you need to move to follow your career. What ever path you've chosen; first you need to have a budget.
Luckily I was moving in with my boyfriend so we could share the load and pay half each which meant we had a slightly larger budget than if I was to move out alone.
It was also a great trial to see if we could live together and manage our expenses as a couple.
You need to figure out what expenses you currently have and see how much you have left over.
Don't forget expenses such as council tax, insurance, internet, service charges, water, gas and electricity. And don't forget you've got to eat! Food bills and Petrol also needs to be added in,
Make sure you can still enjoy yourself too, make sure you have enough left over every month for treat days.

Now you have a budget you need to get searching. This is the hardest part.
We went on sites such as 'Rightmove' 'Zoopla' and 'Primelocation' to view different properties in the area. The best thing about these sites and apps is that you can filter your search to certain price ranges, bedrooms, locations and if you specificity want a garden or parking.
We just wanted a decent sized flat, close enough to the town centre and with at least one car park space. Ideally we would of liked two car park spaces, but when looking at flats and not houses, it was rare to come by!

As soon as you spot a property you like the look of get a viewing booked. They never look like the pictures. You'll often find they hide imperfections on photos or somehow make the room look bigger/smaller; so it's always best to view it and double check you like the layout, fixtures and fittings and it's worth what they're asking for it. Also get a viewing ASAP - properties go quickly nowadays. We were in the first group of viewings for our flat and snapped it up there and then.

As your looking around the property things to look out for:
The boiler: What make is it, when was it last serviced, how much does it cost to run?
The Kitchen: Do any of the appliances come with the property? and more you like the layout? Because unfortunately with renting you can't change things like the kitchen or bathroom.
The Bathroom: Does it look well maintained? Any signs of damp? Any strange smells?
Carpets: Are they in decent condition? (we had to negotiate to get our carpets changed as the previous owner had a tumble drier in the bedroom, so it had made a huge hole in the carpet!)
Noise: Double glazing. Are you near a railway? (we are but luckily we're really well insulated so can't hear a thing!) Ask about the neighbours.
Expense: Ask what council tax bracket their in, how much they spend on water, electric and gas bills a month so you can get a rough idea how much it will cost to live there.
Contract: Is it long term or short term? Do you HAVE to stay in the flat a certain amount of months? prepare for the future.
Landlord: Are they nice? Are they easily contactable? We're lucky and have a PA between us and the landlord who sorts everything out for us. It's useful to know these things.
Decorating: Depending on your landlord can you decorate? Can you place nails in the walls?
Furniture: Does the property come with any furniture? If not think about the cost of furnishing the place.

I hope this gives you a little insight into renting. It's the best thing we ever did. We now understand what we can afford and taught us to work as a couple and handle our expenses.

Are you thinking of moving out any time soon? Or have any other tips?


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