Properties can be found with a little research and a willingness to compromise on what you are looking for in your temporary home. If you can distinguish those things you really need to have, from those you would like, then you can find a cheaper property and save on running costs.
Properties are available across every borough and every price range, but you may have to be willing to compromise to get the best possible deal. Firstly, you need to consider what this the minimum floor space and number of bedrooms you need. If you are going to be living there alone do you really need a one-bedroom flat, or could you manage a studio apartment? Similarly, do you need to have a balcony, or outside space?
Would a condominium be better? Next, consider the area you want, or need to live in. Do you need to be in the centre of the City, or could you manage further out? Transport links in cities tend to be excellent, meaning you can go further afield. An alternative way to save money is to consider an apartment share through letting agents. If you are moving to the big city with a colleague, you could save more by renting a two-bedroom apartment between you.
Properties vary in price depending on size, location and a number of other criteria. However, affordability is not just about the cost of the monthly rent. Read on to see what other elements you need to consider when assessing the affordability of letting apartments.
When considering apartments or houses, you need to first consider all upfront payments that you will need to make. This will include any letting agents fees, the deposit on the accommodation and the first month’s rental cost. In general, you need to earn two and a half times the yearly rent to be considered for rentals without a guarantor. You will also need to budget for moving costs including hiring a removal van, or the costs associated with moving your possessions to the accommodation yourself. If this is your first home, and it is not furnished, you may also need to consider the costs of furniture and accessories that you don’t currently own. As well as your upfront costs, there are your rolling costs. This, of course, includes your rent, but also council tax, utility bills and your telephone service and TV packages if you choose to have them. There are also travel costs, food bills and other sundries to consider. In addition, you need to think about insurance. Although the landlord is responsible for buildings insurance, and insuring any items in the apartment that belong to them, you are responsible for your own contents. Once all of this is accounted for, can you still afford the apartment you have chosen?
Apartments are available across the different boroughs, but which one is right for you? The property may look perfect in the listing and even have everything you need, however, it is of little use if you dislike the area, or do not have access to the things you need.
Research is essential before you go ahead and book viewings for apartments and houses. Check out the area online, Google maps is ideal for getting an overall feel for what is close by the apartment. It will show you everything from transport links to schools, colleges and places of interest. You can also search online for crime rates, local amenities and local groups and community associations. All of this will give an indication of how safe the area is and whether there is an active community in the area. If you can, try to visit the area close by the address of the property before the viewing, and ideally at different times of the day. This will provide details on traffic, parking and noise. If the opportunity arises to try to talk to your prospective neighbours, find out how long they have been there and how quickly rented properties change hands in the area. Visiting local libraries, cafes and bars is another way to get to know the area better. Don’t forget to ask the letting agents for details you are unsure of, or to clarify any information you find out.
An agent works primarily on behalf of the landlord. This relationship often puts tenants off of properties that are let through an agency. However, there are a number of excellent reasons why it is preferable to go down this route as a tenant.
Registering with a letting agent is free, there are no fees until you choose a property that you want to let. This means that once registered you have access to all the properties that are on the agent’s listings and can arrange viewings through them. If you are unsure of any aspect of the property, its suitability, or your likelihood of being accepted by the landlord as a tenant you can discuss this with the agent who will take your concern to the landlord. This can save you a great deal of time and stress. Viewing for properties can also be arranged through the letting agents. If you have questions about the property or the landlord following the viewing, you can again address them through the agency. You also have the knowledge that the landlord will have been verified by the agency before the property was listed. As long as you are working with an agency that is registered with a professional body you have the peace of mind that they will be working to certain standards. They will also expect those standards to be adhered to by the landlords that they represent as well.