In 2015 I moved into a place that on first viewing, seemed amazing. High ceilings, double beds, furnished, with a living room and a room we donned ‘the snug’, for its small yet cosy size. This house actually turned out to be one of the worst I’ve lived in, purely because when viewing it I did NOT know what to look for.
When looking for a place to rent it’s often hard to see past the decoration, especially if it’s ugh, ‘oh-so Pinterest worthy’. It’s easy to see yourself living somewhere when the walls are that perfect shade, or the bed frame is one you’d totally buy for yourself had you the money.
When renting you should always keep your peepers peeled for things that might catch bother you if you were to move in!
This is a weird one so bare with me. Not every house is going to smell amazing but as I said before, if the place you’re viewing smells like someone hung some wet clothes inside on a hot day, that’s a red flag. Look for mildew, damp parts on the ceiling or bad paint jobs where mould has been covered up. A lot of landlords will not deal with the problem head on and try to paint over it. This means it comes back!
Check the taps. Do they all work? Is there hot water? It’s okay not to take someone’s word for everything, especially when it’s their job to sell this house to you. Check that the hot water tap is actually hot. This is sometimes an indication of how good the boiler is, and whether or not you’ll be dealing with deathly cold mornings come Winter.
Which way is this house facing? Will you ever see the sun rise or set? Natural light is important to open up a space, elevate mood and over all make your living space less depressing. You can check this on the compass on your phone, as you can’t visit at every time of day.
If you’re moving into a house share, look around the communal areas and notice how they’re kept. Is the shower dirty? Is the kitchen clean enough to cook in? Most of your housemates will work full time or be studying at university so won’t always have the time to clean. Is this something you can live with?
If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a lot of little plants and books, things that usually live on shelves. Is there room for everything here or do you need to declutter your life a little? Perhaps you need a good old storage haul, or come up with some clever ways of giving your belongings a home.
Does the place have a washing machine or a dryer? Maybe it does both! It’s always good to have the option but this isn’t make or break. As long as it works. If you’ll be living with a lot of people, remember you will have to wait for the washer/dryer so invest in a clotheshorse or somewhere to dry your threads. A dishwasher is SUCH a bonus.
Sometimes, when moving into rented spaces, things are broken from the tenant before. Check how many plug sockets are in your space and if they’re all in tact. Take a quick peek at the light and on moving in, take photos of any damages and send them to your landlord so that when it comes to getting your deposit back, you’re not blamed for anything that was already there.
PHONE SIGNAL AND WI-FI:
In this day and age y’all know how important phone signal is. Check your phone signal, and potentially wi-fi speed if you’re a Netflix addict like me.
ASK ABOUT ALLOWANCES:
Check the smoking, pet and decoration policies that your landlord has. Do you mind living with other people’s pets or smoking habits? Are you allowed to decorate your rented space? This kind of thing is important for making a rented place feel like home and will definitely help you come to a decision.
Lastly, don’t let the letting agent pressure you! We’ve all heard ‘I have another viewing in 10 minutes’, or ‘this place is going to go fast’. Remember it’s their job to sell you a place, and you have the right to as much time as you need to decide. You can go home and even sleep on it.
Keep your options open and you’ll eventually find somewhere that you love.
*This article has been originally written by Sarah Jane who runs her blog – Sarah Jane. Follow Sarah on Twitter and Instagram