10 Tips for Tenants to help you get that property
By following our top 10 tips for tenants it will make securing a tenancy easier for you and less stressful. Don’t forget, for popular properties you will be up against competition from others so being prepared will improve your chances of getting the property before someone else.
Decide what you want/need
You would think this is an obvious one! You'd be wrong.
A lot of people looking for a new place to live can't actually decide what facilities/characteristics they want with their new home. It can often help you decide what you’re looking for by writing down things you need with a property. For example, must be a semi-detached or detached house, the kitchen goods must be provided as I don't have my own, I want a downstairs toilet and upstairs bathroom because of the kids, or garage to store your motorbike.
After making this list you will probably have a much better understanding of what you’re looking for; this will save wasting your time looking around properties that weren't suitable for you from the start. Don't forget to ask the landlord or letting agent if the property you’re enquiring about has all of these feature's; if not don't book the viewing.
Use the Internet as this will give you a good idea of what property is out there and what has been on the market by looking at “under offers” also. It will also give you a good idea of rents in the area.
If you know the letting agencies that are active in the area look at their own websites and not property portals as their own are usually more up to date. Some agencies have been known to leave properties on portals weeks after they have been let out. To find the agencies use our property search section by entering a postcode or area, then when you find a property you like, find the agent and go to their website direct.
Make sure you have your references ready – you will be asked, as any Landlord or Letting Agent will want to take up references; so having these ready will enhance your chances.
Your financial or employment reference will probably need to show that your income is at least two and a half times the rent. Any previous Letting agent or Landlord’s reference will need to say that you’ve been a good tenant and paid your rent on time and kept the property in a good condition. If you are self-employed you’ll need to get your accountant to give you a reference that should state that you’re ‘Good for the rental amount’ proposed, and any bank reference you might provide. Prepare your referees – the biggest problem agents have is waiting for references so make sure your referees know to expect a call and to respond rapidly.
If you are currently renting give notice to your current landlord or agent, as being able to move within a month is ideal.
If you can move quickly you will get preferential treatment by Landlords and Letting Agents; if they have to wait two months or even one month you will not be top of their pecking order.
Go to the locations you are considering moving to and look around; you will often see boards from local agents so contact these as they more than likely to have the best local knowledge.
Look for a local number on their board and not a National phone number. Also, if you’re not familiar with the area you’ll be able to see which areas are close to local shops, schools, buses and so on and it will enable you to visit local agents.
Make the time to view properties and be flexible about when you can go. You might find that most people can only view after work hours or at weekends so if you can take some time off during the day it will increases your chances of seeing something before anyone else.
Make a list of the ones you like the most and try and do them all in one day. If you’re going out with an agent see as many properties as possible. Seeing just one property per appointment will never give you an idea of value or a good idea of what is happening in the rental market. Be organised and see three or four properties.
When you see the property that matches your requirements do not hesitate; make an offer for it immediately as you can bet your life if it’s a great property there will be someone who will.
Good properties rent fast! If it’s the best you’ve seen it’s likely someone else thinks exactly the same! First to put your money down gets the landlord to focus on you and not someone who has yet to do the same. The thing to be is realistic about price, condition and location and not too pedantic about getting things perfect. If you have a list of reasonable requirements the most suitable property may match at least 70% of these.
Try to offer the longest rental period you can as landlords hate having their property empty.
However, you will more than likely to be offered 6 months initially but by making a long term offer the agent or landlord will see you are committed and it will again push you up the pecking order with the letting agent.
Be prepared to move quickly as landlords and Letting agents want to move people in within days, not weeks.
This is important even if you are not actually going to move into the property on the date you specify. Many tenants manage to get their offer agreed because they can ‘move in’ rapidly.
And one for good luck - Make a Decision!!
So many people procrastinate for too long, end up trawling around too many properties and then decide eventually the one they had seen a few days ago was the best. Of course, by then it’s too late and has been let.
When you see something you like make decision and go for it.