A Guide For First Time Renters - Part 1
Few things in life can be more overwhelming than moving into a new property, especially when you’re a first-time renter. Not only do you have to think about packing up your whole life and transporting it to a new place, but you also need to consider everything else that goes along with becoming a tenant, such as arranging viewings, tenancy agreements and rent payments.
That’s exactly why we’ve put together this handy two-part guide to help make your first-time renters journey as efficient and stress-free as possible. Whether you’re a young single professional moving into your own place for the first time ever, a growing family looking for more space, a group of students searching for the perfect place to continue your education or a mature couple who are downsizing, we can help you.
The most important thing to remember is this: even though renting may give you greater flexibility, in the long run, it can still take a lot of time, money and effort to find the most suitable place for you to move into, so it is definitely worth putting some careful consideration into finding the right place for you, whatever your circumstances may be.
Before Starting Your Search
This may seem like common sense to most, but when it comes to renting, it’s always a good idea to make sure you are financially prepared to pay your rent as well as any other permitted payments that may be required.
Once a landlord makes the decision that you would be a good fit for them as a tenant, you will more than likely need to pay a security deposit before moving in, as well as at least one month’s rent upfront in most cases. They will also probably want to carry out detailed reference checks including a soft credit check before allowing you to sign a lease agreement. Why is this? Well, these initial checks will help to establish that you can actually afford the rent, and therefore will make a great tenant.
Other things to Consider.
Before beginning your tenancy, it’s also a good idea to have a clear idea in your mind of exactly how long you’d like your tenancy to last.
The current lease used in Scotland is a Private Rented Tenancy. This lease only has a start date and has no minimum term and you must give a minimum of 28 days notice if you wish to leave. Most landlords however, are hoping to secure a reasonably long term tenant.
Finding a Place To Rent.
It is vital that you think about the sort of property you’d like to move into and which would be best to suit your current lifestyle or the lifestyle you plan on living soon before starting your search. The questions you should be asking yourself in order to figure this out include:
● Is a garden a must for you?
● Do you need a fully furnished rental? Or are you equipped enough to take on an unfurnished rental?
● Could you benefit from renting a partly furnished rental?
● If you choose to rent a furnished or partly furnished rental, are you prepared to look after the furniture, or are you happy to risk losing your deposit if the furniture is damaged?
● Do you own a car? If so, would you require off-street parking or a garage?
Where Would You Like to Live?
Another thing to consider is the location of your rental property.
● Would you like to be close to town for nights out/general convenience?
● Would it be helpful to be close to work? Or perhaps your children’s school?
● Do you not drive and so would need to be close to public transport links?
Once you have answered these significant questions, you should continue to make a list of any other significant criteria you may feel is necessary when searching for your perfect property.
Where Should I Look?
We have a page dedicated to available rental properties for tenants in the Ayrshire and Glasgow areas, which you can find right here. Feel free to get in touch with us with any questions you may have.
The real way to get a true feel for the kind of property best suited to you to rent is by arranging viewings and seeing it for yourself. Have a busy or abnormal schedule that can make arranging viewings tricky? Not a problem. We can offer flexible viewings at times that suit you - including evenings and weekends!
Be sure to bring a list of your specified criteria with you to all viewings, otherwise, it may be difficult for you to figure out whether or not the property would be a good match. It is also often a great idea to go prepared with a list of questions to ask in order to really narrow your search down.
Some of the most important questions you should consider asking include:
● How much is the rent per month?
● How much deposit is required?
● What insurance would I need in order to cover myself?
● Are there additional bills?
● If so, what are they? What is the likely overall cost? And if it’s a house-share, how would the bills be split and who would pay them?
● What is actually included in the rent?
● Who would be my point of contact in the case of an emergency?
● Where will my deposit be protected?
● What notice period would be needed when I want to move out of the property?
● What insurance does the landlord have in regards to covering the property?
Budgeting for Your Tenancy.
When it comes to renting, especially if you’re doing so for the first time, there’s nothing more important than figuring out your finances beforehand. This is because you will likely find yourself with a few significant outgoings once you first set up a new tenancy agreement.
This would often include:
● Your security deposit.
● Your first month’s rent.
● And any other initial outgoings, which could include the purchase of any furniture if you decide to rent an unfurnished or partly furnished property. Then, when you do move in, you will also have outgoing costs, such as:
● Phone bills, broadband, line rental and any TV packages you wish to have (including a TV license)
● Council tax payments. In some cases, these may be included in your rent.
● Your monthly rental payments.
● And your utilities, including electricity, water and gas. Again, in some cases, these may be included in your rent.
It is absolutely vital that you take all of these costs into account when considering renting a property in order to not be caught short in a few months time. It is also incredibly important that you keep paying your rent, always on time and always in full. Not only would this not make you unpopular with your landlord, but it would also negatively impact your credit score.
A good rule of thumb is that you must be earning at least 2.5 times the rent per month in order to be fairly sure that you can afford to rent a particular property.
It may be very helpful for you to jot down a full projection of all your potential monthly outgoings (and of course, don’t forget to note down the money you’d spend on things like clothes, food and your usual leisure activities). This will help you have a clear image of how much money you would have left for your rent.
If you’ve found this helpful so far, be sure to check out the second part of our guide!