Moving to the Capital and embracing city life can be an exciting adventure, and part of this experience is finding a property to rent. However, with this mission of discovery presents several challenges you must be willing to overcome. Property hunting in London can be an exhausting and time-consuming task. If this is your first time living in London, then it can be confusing figuring out what you need to do and where you need to look in order to locate a place to stay.
Re-establishing your life in an unfamiliar place can be daunting enough, and this is without the initial complex process of finding a place of your own. However, to make house hunting slightly more manageable and less confusing, here is our guide on the best way to find a property to rent in London.
How to Find a Property to Rent in London
In order to save yourself time, efforts and unnecessary expenses, we have put together this comprehensive guide. This is to aid not only those who are about to begin their journey to finding a property to rent, but also those who have failed to find what they’re looking for and are now seeking advice. With the implementation of our advice, you’ll be giving yourself the best possible chances of not only finding a house, but the property of your dreams. From staying organised throughout the location process, to being flexible with your requirements, here are our suggestions on how to find your perfect London property.
Know What You’re Looking For
This is something you need to consider carefully right at the start of the house hunting process. Begin by writing down a list of desired requirements that you’re looking for in a property. This will help you to find a property that actually suits your needs and lifestyle. You need to consider which part of London you’d like to rent in – check all of the local facilities, any security issues, the transportation options and the distance to places you regularly travel to.
You should then spend some time researching the average rental prices of that area. This will help you to set a budget. However, don’t forget to include the cost of agency fees and bills into that overall budget. Many agents, especially in London, charge high fees, so it is essential to take these costs into consideration initially – it can make a big difference to your final renting price.
Share in Order to Save Money
If you are looking for ways to save money on your rent, then sharing a property with several flatmates is a guaranteed way to bring down the costs. The majority of both students and young professionals opt to houseshare, especially if it is their first property in London.
The more rooms your property has, the less rent per room you’ll have to pay. If you are looking to rent a one bedroom flat, then you can expect to pay a significant amount more than you would for a bedroom in a four-bed property.
If you do go down the route of sharing a larger house with several housemates, then make sure to meet them before signing any agreements. You need to be sure you get along with them beforehand to make your sharing experience as fun and enjoyable as possible.
When it comes to looking for a location to live in, it is a good idea to ask friends and family for advice on where they would suggest. You may find this will save you a lot of time and money, helping you to avoid estate agent fees.
You can also take to social media and ask your friends and family over Facebook if they know of any great areas of London to live in. It may also be worth joining a London community on Facebook and talking to some city experts.
For some suggestions of high-end places to rent, take a read of this article. It includes the most glamourous rental properties in some of the most stylish boroughs of London, including Hyde Park, Wimbledon, Knightsbridge and Park Lane.
Be Flexible With Your Options
It is important, that throughout this house hunting process, you stay flexible. Although you may have your heart set on one specific location at the centre of London, there is a multitude of exciting places to live in just outside of London. These are also going to be far more affordable and are ideal locations for those with a limited budget. Furthermore, many of these districts just outside the city centre still have great connections to the main centre.
Nevertheless, if you have regular commitments, like work, make sure that the cost of commuting is worthwhile and not actually just costing you more. Find out how much it will cost you to commute and whether or not you are saving much by living further away but paying less rent. If you are looking for properties in Fulham, Chelsea or Knightsbridge, take a look at what Chatterton Rees has to offer.
Save For The Upfront Costs
In order to afford your ideal property in your desired location, you need to make sure you have saved enough for the upfront costs. When you first move into a property, it is essential to be aware and prepared for any unexpected upfront costs. These costs usually consist of rental deposits and agency fees.
The rental deposit is most commonly just a month and a half’s worth of rent, whereas the agency fees often include any extra referencing charges and additional costs from utility companies. You need to bear these costs in mind and ensure you have effectively budgeted to accommodate for them. If you cannot afford to pay these added costs, then you will not be allowed to rent a property.
Hunting down and securing your ideal property to rent takes meticulous research, preparation, and above all, organisation. If you are not on top of your organisation, then there is the potential for you to miss out on perfect rental opportunities.
We suggest keeping a diary of all your planned viewing appointments, making sure to note down the time, address and name of the person you’re meeting. Alternatively, if you are likely to forget or lose a diary, you could put all of this information into your phone calendar.
It is also worth keeping a list of questions that you will want to ask the landlord about the property. Things to ask could include the type of facilities in the surrounding area, whether or not there have been issues with the property, and then the cost of monthly bills. You may also wish to inquire about the neighbours and whether anyone has had problems with them in the past. You need to ensure you get a good feel of what living in that property will be like. Don’t hold back when it comes to asking the estate agent or landlord questions about the property that you deem to be important.
Maintaining an organised and systematic structure to the way in which you go about your house hunt will help ensure you are in the right place at the right time. This will only increase your chances of securing a suitable rental property.
Prepare Your Renter Profile
Due to the high property demand in London, trying to find a place to rent can be a challenge. The best properties will always have people competing for their tenancy, so it is essential that you show you are the best renter, surpassing all other candidates. Most landlords will want to know that their house is being looked after by their renters, so you need to make them aware that you can guarantee a high level of care for their property. You need to make sure that you stand out from the crowd, providing yourself with a better chance of being selected.
In the same way that you would prepare for a job interview, you need to equip yourself to impress your interviewer. You need to look presentable and come across approachable and responsible.
The ideal way to prove to anyone that you will be a reliable tenant is to prepare a personal statement. It is also worth collecting references from past landlords, regardless of their location. If you are going through the process of renting via an agent, then to secure your desired property, you will need to supply these to them. Make sure to have these prepared in advance to prevent yourself from disappointment.
Staying safe is something that you should do throughout this process of finding a place to rent. There are several things you should and shouldn’t do in order to protect yourself when searching for a property to rent.
Make sure to meet both the landlord and estate agent in person before handing over any money for a property – it could be a scam. You also need to ensure that all deposits are paid into a tenancy deposit protection scheme. You must always ask for a receipt after any rental payments. Furthermore, make sure that the deposit you do pay is not paid in cash – it should always be a credit card or electronic payment.
We also must emphasise the importance of checking the property and ensuring there is a detailed inventory of all pieces of furniture and household items, which must be then signed by both you and the landlord or agent. If any issues do arise whilst you’re in the property, then make sure to make a record of this and take photographic evidence. Similarly, make a note of any accidental damages to the property so that you are not charged for the repairs when you leave.
These are just some tips worth sticking to in order to protect the safety of yourself, your renting reputation, and your finances.
If you implement all of the advice we have suggested above, then hopefully you will experience a minimum amount of stress when it comes to house hunting. It is a good idea to keep your options open throughout this searching process and not to get your heart set on any homes too soon, as the likelihood of securing your dream property straight away is unlikely. Nevertheless, if you require a hand when it comes to moving day, then take a look at our removals in Chelsea and get in touch with us today.
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