April 22, 2018

In addition to my YouTube video, I have created this blog post as a more in depth look into renting your first property at a young age and all the info I wish I had access to when I first started this adventure! Moving out of your parents house can be extremely daunting but it is inevitable to happen sooner or later. I never planned on moving out, I expected to still be living with my Mum until I was at least in my mid twenties, but sometimes things just... happen. I had been looking on various estate agents and websites for months, not planning on getting anything, just curious to fantasise about "Imagine living here and having your own space" kind of thing, nothing too serious, until one night I was scrolling through RightMove and turned to my boyfriend and said "Isn't this next door to your sister?", we had found a small flat next door to his sisters and joked about living there, we even called her and we laughed about how it would be like "FRIENDS" and how lovely it would be... until it was no longer a joke and she actually convinced us to have a viewing. 

We had a long conversation about how scary it was, we were actually considering moving out of our parents' homes and into a place of our own! I was 20 at the time, most of my friends were still at university or college, they were getting cars and new clothes and going on holidays, but none of them were moving into a place of there own, so I guess I was the first. 

A few weeks later we had a viewing and instantly fell in love with our little apartment! Then there was the whole emotional "Mum I'm moving out" conversation and telling all my family and friends that it was happening, but there are so many tips that I wish I knew before moving. I searched the internet high and low for information on renting your first property in the UK, especially being so young I desperately needed the advice, but there was nothing! So, after living in my little rented flat for a full year now, I thought it was time to give the youngsters (or oldsters) out there who are in the same boat as I was, so that you don't go into this thing completely blind. Okay, here we go!

Finding a Property
Once you've spent hours, maybe weeks, browsing online or through estate agent windows, you'll find a property that you like and is in your price range, exciting! Now for all the serious stuff! If you're thinking about renting alone, I would consider this very carefully:

•Are you financially stable enough to pay your rent in full/all of your bills/unforeseen circumstances? (i.e. if you need to pay for new things that get damaged or broken)

•Are you okay with living on your own? Initially you might say "Yes I'd be fine with that", but it can be terrifying! I thought that I could live alone, but after spending full days alone I am so glad that I rent with my boyfriend because being along for long periods of time sucks! Especially when you hear funny noises and have no one there to comfort you. BUT, if you're fine living alone then go for it!

•Are you planning on staying long term? Some landlords are fine with short-term contracts so if you are looking to live in a property for less than six months you should ask this before continuing the process.

However, If you are going to rent with one or more people, things will be a little easier, but I'll explain all of that later on. The first thing you'll need to do is have viewing of your chosen property, which is essentially you and the person/people you're going to be living with, walk through the property with the estate agent to get a feel for where you'll be living, you'll get to ask them questions and they will try to sell the place to you. You can book a viewing by calling them or by going into the agents itself. 

Questions to ask the estate agent at the viewing
You're going to want to ask certain questions to the estate agent when you first view your property to ensure that you're getting a place that's right for you! Don't be scared to ask these questions as the estate agent will be as helpful as they can be. As a first time renter/buyer and a young-un (or old-un) they will be understanding and know that you're nervous, but fear not, it's easier than it seems. These are the questions I would recommend asking, of course you can ask more if you want to.

What is the monthly rent? And what is included in this?
For us it was just rent for the property, but some landlords include certain (sometimes all) bills in the rent price, so make sure you know what you're paying for. 

How long is the contract?
Most tenancies require a six month minimum contract, meaning you will have to stay there and pay rent for six months before you leave. Our landlord was very flexible but said that they would prefer long term tenants (lucky for them we're still here a year later!)

How much is the deposit?
Usually, you will have to pay a months rent in advance to secure your first month of tenancy, however this can vary depending on your landlord and/or estate agent.

What is the council tax banding?
If you're currently living at home, the likelihood is that you probably aren't paying council tax, this will all change when you have a place of your own. Council taxes are split into different bands, A-H, but you're most likely to be between A-C.

Who is the current electric and/or gas provider? Is it on a meter? 
Depending on the previous tenant, they will have been with a certain electric and gas provider, you will need to know the details of this so that you can contact them to say a) you'll be sticking with them but need to update the details of the property and you're the new tenants or b) let them know you're new tenants and will be changing providers. You'll also need to know if it is a monthly agreement or pay as you go by meter. For us, we have our electric on a meter and top it up as when we need to. Our property doesn't have gas, so we only need to worry about the electricity, however if your property has both, you will need to sort this out ASAP.

Does your landlord provide maintenance and repairs?
A blocked drain? A broken plug socket? Or something has been damaged? Does your landlord provide any services to come and help you? You'll need to know as if anything goes wrong, you may need to take care of the situation yourself. 

Are there any service and/or maintenance charges?
If your property has any damages or you need things to be fixed or have items installed etc. Will your landlord charge you for this? Again these all vary depending on the situation and the landlord.

What are your restrictions? 
Are you planning on painting? Perhaps adding a few photos or shelves to the wall? That's all fine, but does your landlord allow you to change the property? Some landlords may have specific restrictions on what you can and can't do, so it's good to know from the get-go what limitations you may have further down the line.

ALSO: The estate agents/landlords will want to know your marital status (or how long you have known your partner/friends), your collective yearly income (how much all of you earn in total), your employment status, if you work part or full time, if you smoke and if you have any pets. This will all play a big part in if you meet the requirements needed in order to rent the property. It seems like a lot, I know, but it'll be fine. I work part time (with over time in the mix) and my boyfriend works full time, so we earn enough between us to be able to keep the property. If we can do it, so can you!

Paying your reservation fee
Before you can start renting your property, you will need to take it off the market. A reservation fee will hold your property and take it off the market for one week. This time allows you sort out all your bills/change your address for postal services/arrange for your things to be delivered to your new home. You'll also have A LOT of documents to sign with the estate agents. The prices of the fee can vary depending on how many tenants there are, the size and location of the property, how long it will be taken off the market for etc. Of course you can split the payment between you as it'll be one fixed price for all of you. 

The security deposit/first months rent/upfront agreement
This is where things start to get a little bit more stressful... On top of the reservation fee, there will be a security deposit, this is when the estate agents will do background checks on all the tenants that will be living in the property, you will need your passport for them to photocopy to check you are who you say you are, they will require bank statements (possibly from up to a year but it's usually within the last six months) don't worry it's nothing too scary, it's just so they can see if you have a regular income and if you are going to be able to afford the rent and all of the fees. To make it easier for them to see, I highlighted all my monthly incomes from my job so that they could easily sift through the documents and takes less time. The charge of the deposit is usually the same as the first months rent, so you'll essentially be paying two months worth of rent but for one month. It's a bummer, I know! Then there is the agreement price, this is when you sign all the tenancy documents so that the rented property is in your name(s) and is the final price you'll pay the estate agents. This price will of course vary but should be less than £100. Again, you can split the payments between yourselves.  

Getting your keys and signing all the documents
This is the exciting day! The day where you are handed the keys and the property is yours! BUT, before any of that happens, it's one last trip to the estate agents to sign all the necessary documents and to read through your starter pack! Each of you will have to sign three copies of everything. One for the landlord, one for the estate agents and one for you to keep. Do be careful when signing your initials though, as our landlord now has a copy of our documents that say "Signed by: TWAT" My boyfriends initials are AT and mine are TW, so yes... when in a certain order, our initials spell 'TWAT', I was so embarrassed, but the estate agent laughed so I guess it was fine. Once you have developed carpal tunnel from signing many, many pages of documents, the estate agents will give you the keys you need and off you go!

And well... that's that part done! So, here's quick recap of everything I have discussed so far:

•Find a property within your price range and book a viewing 
•On your viewing, ask the necessary questions to your estate agent
•Pay your reservation fee - takes your market off the property
•Pay your security deposit and first months rent - for background checks 
•Pay the upfront agreement - to sign documents and get your keys
•Sign your tenancy agreement
•Get your keys! 

When put in that short list, it doesn't seem as bad now, huh? It's very time consuming and involves a lot of money. People think that you just move in and start paying rent, but it just isn't as simple as that. Before we had even moved into our apartment, we paid a total of £1060, which was £530. Which doesn't seem like a lot of money, however when you're just moving in and are finding out that you are just expected to pay £1K plus! It's a shock to the system, so be prepared that it's not a cheap process! 

What's next?
The next few steps can be both enjoyable and stressful, you're going to need a lot of patience with each other and try to get along as best as you can. Now that all of the estate agent stuff is out of the way, it's time to focus on bills, providers and the essentials you'll need for the first few months of having your own place. 

This will all be explained in my next blog post which you can see next week! You can be notified when it's out by subscribing to my email list and I will also be posting a video about it on my YouTube. If you have any questions I will be sure to answer them over on twitter as I want to help you all out as much as I can! I remember feeling very strange on this day because it was the day when I left my childhood bedroom of 16 years and into my own apartment... and... it doesn't quite sink in for a while

You Might Also Like


my latest video

Popular Posts

what I'm listening to