You’ve been searching through property listings, looking at lots of photos and narrowing down your choices, based on location, distance from work and, importantly, whether there’s enough space to throw a decent housewarming party.
Before you get too carried away, read through these top renting tips to make sure the carpet doesn’t get pulled out from under your feet!
The last thing you want to do is take on an apartment you cannot realistically afford. We understand that a swanky penthouse, with all its mod cons, is exactly what you are looking for, but you have to be sensible.
Experts recommend that your rent shouldn’t be more than 25-30% of your income. To work out what you can and can’t afford, you need a clear picture of the state of your finances. It’s time to put together a realistic budget:
- Work out what your income is, after tax
- Add up all of your expenses including food and household supplies, fuel, home contents and car insurance, cell phone bill, credit card bills etc – you know what they all are.
- Remember to allow for utility bills too – water, gas and electricity – they’re not always included in your rent.
Subtract your expenses from your income and what’s left is what you can afford to spend on rent.
Remember to budget for the deposit! The deposit is usually equal to one month’s rent – but you might also need to pay to have the electricity turned on. Find out how many of these ‘hidden’ extras you’ll need to pay and how long it will take for things to be connected.
Be careful with credit
Having and using credit cards isn’t a bad thing – there are times when credit is very useful. But be responsible with any credit cards and try to keep the balance small enough so you can pay off the balance every three months. Avoid using it to make ends meet every month; keep your credit cards for emergencies only.
Need versus Want
When you’re drawing up your shortlist of potential apartments, make sure you give due consideration to what you need versus what you want. If you don’t have a car, you need to either live close to your place of work, or public transport links. If you have a pet, you’ll need to find somewhere where they are welcome.
No see, NO SIGN
So, you’ve worked out your budget; you’ve got a shortlist of apartments that are the right price and in the right location. Now it’s time go and look at them. This is when the fun really begins and where due diligence is essential.
Perform a complete walkthrough of every apartment and do the following things:
- Take measurements of the rooms and the doors – it’s no good if your king-size bed and huge leather sofa aren’t going to fit!
- Listen out for loud noises, and pay attention to how the apartment smells
- Open all the wardrobe, cabinet and cupboard doors and check for any damage and mould
- Turn all the taps on and off (don’t forget the shower, if there is one)
- Run the water for a while and check how long it takes for the water to get hot, and how hot it actually gets. You can also check that the sinks drain properly at the same time.
- Check all appliances to make sure that they work
- Ask about the security measures
- Check if the common areas are well lit, clean and tidy
- Speak to other tenants in the building or complex and find out if they have any concerns or complaints
- Make sure that all the windows close properly
- Test all the keys and locks
- Is there a fire escape and is it clear? Also check for fire alarms and extinguishers in common areas
- Check the noise levels from above/below/next door
- Check for mould in the bathroom
- Check the safety and security features, such as burglar bars and that the alarm is in working order
If there is damage to the apartment, ask for it to be fixed before you move in. And if you go and see an apartment during the week or at night, go back and see it at the weekend or during the day. This is when most people are at home and will give you a more accurate picture of the dynamics of the place.
Long live the lease!
Lease documents can be long and repetitive, however do not rush through reading it and definitely don’t rush into signing it. If you’re not sure what something means, ask. Make sure you have absolutely everything in writing: everything you agreed with your landlord, everything that’s to be included and everything that’s not. How much your deposit is going to be and any other fees you’re expected to pay.
If something is not included that should be, or a clause is still present that should have been taken out, ask for the lease to be amended. Whatever you do, do not sign your lease until you are completely happy with what it says. By signing it, you’re agreeing to be bound by everything it contains.
It’s party time!
Finding the apartment of your dreams involves good research, patience, good timing and a bit of luck. It’s also a matter of asking the right questions before, during and after you visit the apartment and before you sign your lease. Make sure that you are as informed as you can be and that you won’t end up with any nasty surprises after you’ve moved in. After all the formalities, all that’s left to do is plan the best housewarming your friends have ever seen!
GetMore can assist in finding you the right house or flat, and give you information about your new area, including shops, schools, emergency services, public transport and community services.
Remember with GetMore you have access to legal advice PLUS you can download a standard lease agreement from the website, which gives you all the information and guidance you need.
Article courtesy Desi Life