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How To Get The Best Results When Looking for a Flat/House/Room To Rent

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There is nothing more frustrating or depressing than trying to find a flat or room to rent, especially when cash is limited and area important. More and more people in the 18-25 age bracket are unable to afford to buy and, as a result, lettings agencies are unable to cope with the demand for rental property at the more modest end of the market (see How To Take Advantage of the Rent a Room Scheme)
Allow yourself plenty of time to find somewhere to live. The rental market is unpredictable and whereas a selection of right properties might be available one day, there will be nothing on the market the next. Be prepared for it to take several weeks before the right place comes along.
Focus your attention on two or three postcodes in the required area and sign up with all the lettings agents in the vicinity. Don’t be tempted to rush around to view every affordable property. Cut viewing time by logging on to Google ‘Streetview’ and find out exactly what’s in the area in terms of pluses and minuses.
If possible, take the opportunity to question the out-going tenant about why they are leaving, and whether there are any ‘need to know’ problems with the place. Somewhere that looks good on a bright, sunny Saturday might look (and smell) completely different on a rain-soaked Monday.
Don’t ignore extra costs of council tax (which can vary considerably from area to area) and other utilities (water, gas, electricity, phone, parking, etc.,) that could add another £200 to your monthly bills.
Be realistic about the hidden costs of installing a phoneline, changing locks or any redecorating, buying extra furniture, extra travelling, etc.
Making the wrong move when trying to find somewhere to live can have disastrous consequences in terms of personal stress or well-being. Rented properties still need to feel like home, even for a short term – so allow yourself plenty of time to find the right place.


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