Tenant Survival Guide to Home Hunting ------------------------------------

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Looking for a home to rent in London? Then be prepared for a whirlwind of a time over the next couple of months.

If this is your first time, you’ll quickly find out that giving leave notice at your current residence was the easy part! And if it’s not and you’ve already done it before, you’ll know that juggling your home search with your day-to-day life can be rather challenging. As a renter, I’ve moved 6 times in the last 15 years - on average that’s once every 2.5 years. However, I’ve found that there’s a method to help manage the madness…

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So what should you expect? Here’s a 4-step approach that can help you make the most of your time and make sure that nothing falls through the cracks:

1. PREPARE for & organise YOUR SEARCH

  • Clearly define your requirements (for more details on what parameters to think about, see here)
  • Compile a profile for your dream property & brief (for agents) – don’t skip this step as it will help agents to know your requirements & you to evaluate the properties you view
  • Organise all of your personal & reference check documentation. Although a reference check is only required once you’ve made an offer, it’s helpful to prepare all of the necessary documents that you’ll be asked to provide in advance. Make sure you keep it handy to fast track the process


  • Identify properties that match your requirements (via online searches and estate agents)
  • Shortlist properties to view and organise viewings
  • View, rate, and select properties

3. execute & SECURE YOUR HOME

  • Negotiate with the landlord or agent on what you can. Depending on the area & market conditions, we’ve seen discounts of up to 20% off the listed rental price if you’re prepared to move in quickly. Furnished/ unfurnished can make a substantial difference, and agency fees can usually be negotiated. The UK government has kicked off a consultation process in April 2017 to ban agency fees completely for the tenants
  • Make an offer & complete the reference check
  • Complete & sign all required documentation and the tenancy agreement

See here for more details on negotiating your rent and finalising your tenancy agreement.


  • Identify removal firms and cleaning services etc. and negotiate with all of them 
  • Organise parking if needed
  • Do an inventory check
  • Arrange and set up of your required utilities - gas, electric, Internet, telephone etc.

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 ‘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 tips and advice, download our full toolkit in our Tenant’s Guide to a Smooth Move (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 can help your 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!

Renting Made Easy!

Happy Home Hunting!



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