The first, and possibly the most important step in your new search process, is to identify your requirements clearly. Although this may sound fairly straightforward, our experience is that it is worth spending time to lay these out clearly and make sure they’re aligned with your flat mate(s) / partner/ family before drawing up a brief for your dream property and embarking on your search.Some points that are worth considering when you define your requirements:
1. LIFESTYLE CHOICES
- The length of time to commute to your place of work; for all the members who will share the property
- Ease of access to transport links
- Proximity to the gym/outdoor space/ places linked to your hobbies
- Distance to amenities such as grocery stores/ pharmacies/ post office
- Access to places to meet up with friends like coffee shops/ pubs/ restaurants etc.
2. SCHOOLING & EDUCATION
If you have children and you are moving, this probably tops the list of important choices that you’ll need to make and will strongly determineyour neighbourhood requirements
- What commute time to school is acceptable?
- How close to your children’s school mates are you willing to move (this has implications for managing play dates)
- School rankings etc.
3. HEALTH & WELL BEING
Do you suffer from allergies? If so, you’ll want to avoid things like carpets, mould and humidity. You’ll also want to make sure you have large windows, which you can open to get some air (away from any major road, traffic lights etc.).
How much can you spend on monthly rent and council tax, after taking into account utility bills (electricity, gas, water), phone, internet access and transport costs? In addition to your monthly budget, make an estimate of the expenses that you’ll incur in relation to your move, in particular the agent fees and deposit (usually 4-6 weeks of rent) that you’ll be asked to pay upfront, along with 1 month’s advance rent. If you’re not able to provide proof of regular monthly income allowing you to cover the rent (e.g. you’re running your own business, or work as a freelancer), then the agent/landlord may ask for a higher deposit (e.g. up to 2 months in addition to the 1 month advance on rent).
We recommend that you rate and prioritise your requirements, for example on a “must have”/“nice to have” basis to create your “dream property profile”.
This will help you to clearly brief agents on what you’re looking for, in particular on all the criteria that you have listed as a ‘must-have’ for you. In the absence of a clear brief, you may find that you are wasting a lot of precious time viewing properties that do not remotely meet your requirements.
For more advice, download our full toolkit in our Tenant’s Guide to a Smooth Move (available for free), or you can learn more about our Sherpa services and how we can help you in your search and do the heavy lifting for you.
are you looking for a better renting search experience?
At The Urban Collective, our Sherpas will help you reduce your search time by 50% or more. Sherpas are our local area experts who will:
- Be your daily point of contact, managing all estate agents and landlords for you
- Pre-screen properties for viewings, so you don't waste time on unnecessary viewings
- Provide you expert guidance throughout the search process
Click on the link below to get connected with our Sherpas!