Renting your first flat or house is exciting. You’re finally moving out of your parents house or university accommodation and you’re looking forward to all the freedom that awaits you.
However, don’t be too quick to sign on the dotted line after viewing the first place in your price range.
Choosing where you’re going to live is a big deal and you should put some serious thinking and effort into finding the perfect place for you (within your budget, of course).
And once you get the flat or house, there are some things you should keep in mind to make your experience as pleasant as possible. So, here are four things all first-time renters should do before and while renting their new home.
Know your budget
Many people think they can afford a certain amount because they earn enough to still cover their groceries and even have a bit of a social life. But, there are extra expenses that come with having your own place that you might not have thought about. So, it’s important you sit down and list all the expenses you’re now going to need to cover. You don’t want to be living in the most amazing place but not have money for food.
The necessary expenses that come with your first place include everything from cleaning supplies to your electricity bill. And if you’re moving in with nothing but a bed and some cutlery, you need to make space in your budget for purchasing at least one thing you need for your home every month.
Research, research, research
If you’re moving to a new city or even a new area in your hometown, you need to ensure that you know everything about the place. Find out what the crime rate in the area is like, especially if you are about to move into a place on your own. Also, look at property listings for places similar to the one you’re considering so that you know if you’re paying too much or if you are actually getting a great deal.
Don’t forget about the proximity to the places you’ll need to go. Is there a shop close by in case you run out of something and don’t feel like driving too far? You should also check the traffic you’ll be facing to and from your work. You might think you’re moving closer to your office and then find out that it takes an hour for you to get to work in the morning and two hours to get home. That extra petrol will seriously affect your budget.
Remember that you are living in someone else’s house or flat
You might be paying the rent, but there is another person paying the bond on the house or flat and you need to respect that. Don’t go around drilling holes in the walls or repainting without first consulting with your landlord. You don’t want them refusing to give you back your deposit when you eventually move out because you wanted to hang up a painting your little brother made for you when he was in preschool.
Keep the place in good condition because you’d want someone to do that if they were renting from you. Also, make sure to keep the place clean. It doesn’t have to be tidy, but if you mess something on the floor, be sure to clean it up. A simple tomato sauce spill could result in a dried substance that ends up getting between the grouting in the tiles.
Do your best to have a good relationship with your landlord
While we’re on the subject of landlords, you need to make sure that you have a good relationship with yours. There are so many horror stories of tenants battling with their landlord and struggling with drain blockages and broken toilets because their landlord refuses to deal with them. You want to be able to contact your landlord when things really go wrong around the house, so don’t call them about every little thing that you can easily deal with on your own.
However, you must also remember that you have rights as a tenant and if your landlord is clearly violating these rights and taking advantage of you, you can approach the rental housing tribunal. But they can also do the same if you’re not keeping up your side of the bargain, so it’s always best to have a good relationship with your landlord and make sure you are doing everything by the book.
At the end of the day, moving into your own place for the first time is exciting, but you need to be responsible about it. If you budget correctly, do your research, keep the place in good condition and maintain a good relationship with your landlord, you’ll love your experience in your new home.