Four essential tips for first-time tenants.......

There is nothing more exciting than moving into your first home. Finally, you have your independence, a place where you can decide where the kettle should live, and have ownership of the remote control. But a word of warning before you rush into a decision, there are several things you need to bear in mind.

Can you afford it?

This is the most boring but important part of the process: you need to create a budget. Just open up a little Excel document and punch in your net monthly salary and your monthly outgoings. There is no point fudging it and forgetting to add those must-have luxuries, takeaways, and nights out - unless you are prepared to sacrifice them for the sake of your new home?

Remember, it is not just the monthly rent you need to be able to afford, there are all the extras that come with it, such as your gas, electricity, insurance, council tax, deposit, moving costs, furniture, food etc. It is better to stay on the side of caution when budgeting, even if it produces a figure you don’t want to see. That way, if anything unexpected arises, you will have a little left in the pot.

Finding the right property

This may sound easy, but it is not just the property that you need to be conscious of, but also who you are letting it from. It is easy to be swayed by a cool looking pad, but once you’ve moved in you don’t want find that you have walked into a nightmare.

Protect yourself by finding out what you can about the landlord or letting agent before you decide to rent from them. Check out their reviews and see if their tenants are happy.

“We do not hesitate to recommend the high level of your service.  Both times that we have used Bidmead Cook, to find tenants for our cottage we cannot fault the service you have provided.  You have always been very helpful, friendly, and efficient, giving us multiple choice of potential tenants and sound advice on any worries or difficulties we may have had.  You also provide backup after the cottage is occupied.”  Nick and Rosemary

By registering with some local letting agents you will be one of the first to know when a new rental property within your budget comes onto the market. As the private rental market is extremely busy at the moment, we would highly recommend doing this so you don’t miss out on some incredible rental properties we have coming to the market very soon.

Tenancy agreement

This is a legal contract between yourself and your landlord, and as part of the tenancy process your details will be passed on to a referencing agency. The company will run a number of checks, including on your identity, financial situation, and a credit check. So keep an eye on your credit rating before you decide to rent, to make sure it is in a good place. Read the tenancy agreement thoroughly and ask your landlord or letting agent to explain any areas that you don’t fully understand. At Bidmead Cook we sit down with each prospective tenant to explain their agreement with them and any specific clauses they need to be made aware of, but not all letting agents or landlords are the same.

The inventory

Take this seriously, as this is your bible detailing the current condition of the property and its contents; if you don’t agree with something, you must say so before signing. Should there be a dispute at the end of your tenancy, this is the document that will be referred back to, therefore it is essential that it is correct.

For impartiality, many letting agents - like us - use an independent inventory company.

Renting a property for the first time should be fun, but just keep your wits about you so you make the right decisions to ensure you enjoy your tenancy to the max.