For the past two weeks I’ve been desperately searching for a new flat, since the contract for my current one ends in a month and I want to move before getting caught in another contract. It’s not that I don’t like my current flat, it’s more that it’s not quite what I’d expected. It’s my first time I’ve ever lived all on my own and you could say I was a complete newbie when I was searching for my flat. There are so many things I didn’t check for or ask about throughout the process, but at least I’m a bit wiser this time around.
There are about a million and one things you need to think about when moving house, but to get you going here are some ideas for things to consider when flat hunting:
Probably the first thing on your mind is how much your new flat is going to cost you. I pay an astonishingly low rate for my current flat, which is one of the main reasons I moved into it. Don’t be lured in by low prices though. You should check other flats and houses in the area and see how much they’re going for – if the price for the flat you like is over or above this you’ll need to consider why.
If it’s too high it might be because it comes with appliances, is newly renovated or is just generally good; too low and it could be because it’s in a bad area, needs redecorating, requires repairs or a whole host of other reasons. Don’t be afraid to bluntly ask the estate agent what the reasons are.
I need a flat that’s no more than two miles from the train station, because I commute to work every morning and I have to walk to the station. When you’re searching, don’t bother going outside your ideal location, it’ll just be annoying once you move in. Also, think about what amenities are close by – you’ll need a local shop or supermarket and nearby bus stops are always handy. You might also want to look online to find out about crime rates in the area – this will also reflect in the rental price.
I had a hell of a time on my moving day – I didn’t have any electricity, I didn’t know where my electricity metre was and I had no idea what utility company I was with. I moved in on a Sunday as well, so my estate agent was closed. Always ask questions about the utilities – you don’t want to have to spend a night with candles for light and bags of crisps for tea.
I’ve got a cat and it never even crossed my mind to ask whether I could keep him in the flat – luckily the landlord has no problems with it, but I’ve heard of people losing their deposit because of this. Don’t assume you’ll be able to keep animals in a no pets apartment, people will find out and you’ll pay for it in the end.
When you’re viewing a flat you should always ask about its safety features, such as fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, burglar alarms and door locks. If you notice anything a bit off, bring it up with the estate agent or landlord.
What else do you think you should think about when flat hunting?
Guest post contributed by Liz, a residential conveyancing expert.