When it comes to viewing rental properties, people tend to be a lot less vigilant than they are when buying a property. Of course, this tends to be because it’s not a major investment they’re making, or at least they don’t think of it as one – but it’s just as important to know what you’re looking for in a rental property, as it is if you’re looking to take out a mortgage on a house. Think about it, it’s your name on the lease, and this is the place you’ll be living for the foreseeable future – it is in fact, your home. With millennials being labelled “generation rent”, more and more people are opting to rent than buy – but what should you really be looking out for when going to view a rental property?
Start with the Exterior
Ask any property company like Ready Steady Sell what the first thing is you should be assessing when finding somewhere to live, and they’ll give you the same answer – the exterior.
In real estate, a lot of people talk about curb appeal – which very simply refers to the attractiveness of a property from a street view. This is the first impression you get before entering the property of course, but sometimes there’s more too it than whether or not it LOOKS the part.
Of course you should be looking to see whether or not the exterior is in good condition, as this is a sharp indicator of whether or not the inside will follow suit. Likewise, it’s always good to take note of whether or not there’s a garden, and to follow this up by finding out whether you as a tenant would be responsible for its maintenance, or whether this falls under the category of the landlord’s duties.
You also want to be evaluating the practicalities of the property too. For example, is the property secure. If you can, you want to be taking a look at the quality of the doors and windows and their locks. We know you’re not technically buying the house, but if you’re planning on staying for a good while then you good as are.
And of course, you want to look at the areas surrounding the property itself. Are there good facilities, or are there any red flags? Likewise, what are the neighbours like? You can move into the most perfect property in the world, but if your neighbours are troublesome then they’ll spoil your quality of life. Sometimes one of the most important things isn’t where you’re living, but who you’re living beside.
Of course, you’ll want to take note of all of the interior qualities the property has – both good and bad too.
Because you’re renting the property and not buying it, there’s a chance you’ll move into the property furnished – and even if it’s not fully furnished, then appliances are likely to be readily installed. Take a close look at these, ensure that they’re working, and make sure they’re good quality. Likewise, you could consider asking to see any of the forms that come alongside them, and any proof that they’ve been assessed and approved with a PAT test in recent months. If you’re getting a good landlord, then they’ll have regularly had all of these appliances checked and vetted, so shouldn’t have an issue showing you the details.
You’ll also want to keep an eye out for issues such as damp and mould. A lot of the time people will try to cover these up with a lick of fresh paint rather than solving the problem fully, because it’s a cheaper alternative and won’t put tenants off whereas visible damp would. If you do spy any suspicious looking patches of fresh paint that don’t go with the rest of the property, then now is the time to start asking questions. The last thing you want to do is move into the property and then find out there’s a real problem with damp. It’s sometimes irreparable and can cause a lot of respiratory issues, so be particularly vigilant about this.
Last of all, you’ll want to make sure everything works – so don’t be shy with reaching out and trying things. Flick the light switches, flush the toilet, and turn the taps on. Furthermore, ask to take a look at the heating system that’s installed at present and make sure the water heats up. You might not be buying the property in name, but you’re going to be living there. Look at the property and think WOULD I buy this if I could? If the answer is no, then chances are you won’t enjoy living there.