Thursday 24 November 2016

Tips for privately renting

Privately renting a properly doesn't offer many fantastic benefits - lets be honest, we all want to be able to own our home but for those of us that are unable to I thought I'd share some tips that we have learnt over the last 3 years of privately renting to help others to get the best out of the situation.

We have privately rented two houses now, both in the same area and we have had one terrible and one so far good experience.

Things to look for that are actually important but may not seem it at first are the things we missed when we were originally looking at houses. As we walked around with letting agents, I would notice the colours of the walls, the carpet colour, the size of the garden and how many bedrooms it had to offer we missed what was actually important to notice, it's difficult to know what you genuinely want or need when you're looking to rent your first home. The second time we knew what we wanted and we knew the bits that didn't matter as much as we originally thought they did after all.

Something you are going to use every day is the shower. You need to be able to wash. When we moved into the first house, we put Oliver to bed and I decided to have a shower. Heavily pregnant was probably not the greatest of times for a shower door to fall onto me! This door never got replaced and we had a shower curtain instead. The issue with the shower was on going the entire time we lived there, it took forever to get the shampoo out of my hair because it was just a small dribble of water. Something like the shower will actually make a huge impact on your daily life, however stupid that may sound, so turn the shower on and test it - no letting agent is going to care! When we moved our new shower was amazing, it leaves you feeling actually clean which is what you want out of a shower really!

Mould. Mould. Mould. Look for signs of mould. We didn't and oh I so wish we had of done. It was freshly painted though so it's a little tricky to know if it's been mouldy previously. The letting agent kept trying to tell us it was due to us - it wasn't and we had an expert look around... turns out the whole roof needed to be replaced but the landlord refused to do that so myself and Michael spent a lot of time cleaning mould off not only ceilings but walls too. It was miserable and disgusting.

When you're looking at a rental property, always do your research on the boiler. An old boiler won't work as well as a modern one - it'll also cost you more to run too. When we moved into our old house, the boiler didn't actually work properly for about 3 months. It needed replacing as it was so old but the landlord just kept having bits replaced so it was 'fixed'. The new house has a new boiler, it's modern and easier to understand. The new boiler has meant our house is nice and warm, our gas bill has dropped so much I would be embarrassed to tell you how much it was before.

Appliances like the oven, again this simple thing will be something you use all the time. Make sure you like it! I know it's impossible to tell how good this is by looking at it or simply turning it on for a minute but if its old and knackered there's your answer! We love being able to cook food and know that the oven works perfectly. To have these simple things makes life so much easier.

Looking for the first house we knew we wanted 3 bedrooms, we saw a two bedroom house which was perfect. Nice garden, nice kitchen and great bathroom but we didn't take it because we were being oh so stubborn about that extra bedroom. And yes whilst having a third bedroom makes life with 2 children so much easier, it's not the end of the world if you have to make children share a bedroom. We have downsized to a 2 bed and the children are just fine sharing a bedroom - infact they like it. We actually have a very similar in size to the house we turned our noses up at, the front door opens onto the living room and there is no hallway space - something that I had so desperately wanted is no longer a problem at all.

I wish we were able to buy our own home, I want to have that security that we are somewhere to stay! I hate that one day our landlord will say she is selling the house and that's it we'll have to start making a house a home all over again somewhere else. The thing that really sucks is that our monthly rent is a lot more than what a mortgage payment would be and obviously we would be able to afford mortgage payments easily as we are coping just fine with rental.

Another thing about privately renting is that it's so important to know who your landlord is - you have a right to know this information! I think it's really handy that Landlord insurance company HomeLet have created an infographic following their latest Rental Index Stats with some great advice on both sides for landlord and tenants, it's good to arm yourself with knowledge of your rights as everything can be so confusing. I've cropped it into sections so you can read it better here, it's great to know where you stand when privately renting so definitely have a read. If you would like to see the infographic in full you can do so by clicking here

I'd love to know any tips you've got for privately renting.

Mary-Kate, x

*Please note this post is a collaborative post with HomeLet*

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