Moving to a new location can be a daunting and stressful prospect. The ideal, of course, is that you stumble across the home of your dreams and buy it immediately, but the overheated property market and all round difficult financial situation mean that this ideal is often difficult to meet. Not only that, but for many people the key to finding somewhere to live is flexibility; if you’re travelling to London for a short stay, for example, to do some work perhaps or just visit friends and family, then you may wish to rent a property or even rooms in a property for a short let rather than tying yourself down to a longer rental period. Fortunately, many agencies like Sterling De Vere now specialise in precisely this kind of rental arrangement, and the fact that they offer a guaranteed rent to their landlords means that they tend to attract and deal with only the very best properties and owners.
If you’re looking for accommodation in London then the wisest possible advice is to work alongside a highly reputable agency, one in whom you can place absolute trust. Over and above this, however, it is wise to retain a degree of personal control over the process by making sure that you follow a few simple tips and pointers. No matter how good your agency is, the ultimate responsibility for choosing where you are going to be living, even if only temporarily, is yours and yours alone, and taking ownership of the process from the very beginning is likely to stop problems occurring further down the line.
The following lines are a few tips to be taken on board by anyone looking for a property or room in London:
- Carry out research: It may be a cliché that location is the most important aspect of any property, but it’s become a cliché because it carries a large degree of truth. Just as important as the number of bedrooms, the size of the kitchen and the condition of the furnishings is how far the property is from where might need to study or work, what transport links and amenities are nearby and whether it’s the kind of place where you’d feel safe walking back home late at night. Look into all of these factors, using the power of the internet to amass a wealth of information on the place where you might be going to live. No matter how well documented the area is, however, nothing can help you get a feel for it more accurately than simply taking a stroll round the streets.
- Don’t Rush The Viewings: Landlords or agents sometimes like to give the impression that every property you view is on the brink of being snapped up by an eager tenant. This helps to maximise the rental income, of course, but it shouldn’t mean you feel pressured into rushing the viewing of a property. A good landlord or agency will want you to take your time and get as good an impression of the property as possible and you should take advantage of this by checking every element of the place carefully. Is the bathroom clean? Does it have a shower? What kind of condition are the kitchen appliances in? Do the doors and windows look secure? In the excitement of a viewing a property it can be easy to forget, so it’s wisest to take a written checkpoint along to viewings and tick off the items one by one.
- Rental Flexibility: Is there any flexibility with regard to the rent which is going to be charged? Your agency may well say that they have to guarantee a certain rent and can therefore not budge but it will certainly do no harm to ask. If you appear to be an ideal tenant in every other way, perhaps a slight reduction in the rent might be possible.
- Direct debits: When you have agreed a rent, make sure that the direct debits to pay it are set up properly. Don’t feel worried about nagging your bank and building society to check, double check and re-check that the right amount of money is going to be paid out on the right day of the month. Getting in the good books of your landlord or letting agency in this way will give you plenty of leverage should problems arrive, and will make them naturally more prone to want to do the best for you.
- Inventory: Don’t feel so glad to have found somewhere to live that you’re tempted to scrimp on the inventory. Go over everything in the property and make a list, noting the equipment and facilities available as well as the condition and cleanliness of things such as carpets, furnishings and curtains. If you do spot any problems soon after moving in, then make sure you pass them on to your landlord or letting agency.
- Communication: Keep the lines of communication between yourself and your landlord or letting agency open. If anything goes wrong, make sure you tell them – the right to have repairs done will be part of your tenancy agreement and, since the property is also the other party’s investment, they’ll be glad that you’re helping them to keep it in the best possible condition.