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Here’s a quick guide to renting a property. 

 Viewing the property 

- Is it in good condition? Are there signs of damp or flaking paint 

- Do windows and doors open easily and have secure locks. 

- Is there central heating? Do all the radiators function properly?

- Are smoke alarms fitted?

- If it is a furnished property is the furniture in good order 

- Ask to view a copy of the property certificates. These include the energy performance certificate (EPC) and gas and electrical safety certificates.

- Does it have broadband or wi-fi?

- Ask if you are allowed to change the decoration in the property?

- Does the outside of the property appear to be in good condition? And who will be responsible for maintaining the garden?

Tenancy questions

How much is the rent on a monthly basis?

- What is included in the rent? 

- What additional bills do you have to pay and how much are they likely to be? 

- How much deposit is required? Which tenancy deposit protection scheme do you protect the deposit in? 

- What notice period to quit is required? 

- Who should you contact in an emergency, such as a flood or fire? 

- What insurance does the landlord have to cover the property? What do you need to insure yourself? 

- Get a copy of the tenancy agreement and make sure you fully understand it 

Letting agent fees

What fees will I pay to move into the property, and how much will they cost? Ask if the fee includes credit reference check and check-in fees. 

- Will there be any fees to move out of the property? 

- Are the fees per person or per property?

- Ensure you get the fees in writing

Moving in

Double-check the inventory before you move in

- Check and note all meter readings on the day you move in. 


What can you afford?

Simply put, its best to know your budget before stepping inside an estate agent's office. This means reviewing your finances. And unless you are in a position to buy a property with cash you will also need to seek advice on getting a mortgage.

This mortgage calculator is a great first step: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/mortgages/mortgage-rate-calculator

Firstly work where and what type of property you want, then you can research areas and property listings online – Property Wishes provides tailored choices specific to your needs as well as lots of local information, for example transport links, schools, ameneties and so on.

Choosing a mortgage

You can learn a lot about first time buyer mortgages by speaking to friends and family, or searching the web for the best mortgage deals. Also contact banks and building societies about current deals they have on offer. You can also speak to a mortgage adviser, who will be able to help you to fill out your mortgage application.

Also look into government schemes that you may be eligible for here: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/helping-people-to-buy-a-home/supporting-pages/help-for-first-time-buyers

Buyers checklist

On viewing properties within your price range, there are several questions worth bearing in mind to make sure the property is right for you. For example, has the vendor found another property? Otherwise you may find yourself unable to move in for several months, which causes unwanted stress plus extra costs.

Other questions include finding out if any other offers have been made on the property, to help determine your offer if you want to proceed with a purchase - as well as finding out what is included in the sale. For example, is the washing machine included? Dishwasher? Or will you need to budget to buy your own when you move in and so on.

As a first time buyer, you are far more attractive to vendors as you don't have another place to sell, so you will be able to move more quickly.

Found your dream home?

Once you've found the home you want to buy, you’ll want to make an offer. You should discuss this with your estate agent first, who will negotiate with the vendor on your behalf.

You will then need to organise a chartered surveyor to check that the building is structurally sound. A property solicitor - known as a conveyancer, will manage the legal side of the purchase.

Stamp duty charges: https://www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax-rates

The final hurdle

Once all the checks are complete you exchange contracts and move into your new home on completion day or moving in day.


You’ve found your dream property and now need to decide on how you will progress with making an offer – or the scary bit!

Deciding on placing an offer

You should consider what the property is worth to you and if it meets you needs and wishes. A question to ask yourself is what you would have to change and how much would that cost. If it ticks all the boxes it may be worth offering the asking price. You should try to understand the seller’s circumstances and how open they would be to offers under the asking price. The estate agent can confirm if any other offers have been made. You can research the property value by viewing similar properties on the street and the value they reached.

If you’re a cash buyer of first-time buyer you should make the agent and seller aware as this can often be an advantage in negotiations.

Questions to ask

- How many other people are interested in the property

- How long the house has been on the market

- How quickly the seller needs to sell

- Are you part of a chain

Making an offer  

You can make the offer to the agent that is subject to a survey and getting a mortgage.  If you are offering the full asking price, then it is best to ensure that they take the property off the market and agree a date to work towards completion. If the offer is below the asking price it’s often worth stating the reasons for this for example this may be due to repair works you need to take into consideration.

Accepted offer  

Once the seller has accepted your offer, you can ask them to take it off the market.



Getting organised for the big move can take some planning. So make sure you give yourself plenty of time to stop the stress.

Preparing to move

Get quotes from several removal companies

- Confirm the moving date with your removal company

- Before the removal firm arrives, have a clear out.

- Contact local authority for removal of large items you no longer require

Informing people of your move

Make a key contact list as companies often require a months’ notice

- TV licence

- Banks and building societies

- Credit card and store card companies

- Inland Revenue

- Local council

- Subscriptions to magazines, charities

- Employers

- Schools

- Notify the DVLA and renew your driving licence and vehicle registration document

- Friends, family and colleagues

Packing tips

Label each box corresponding to the room where it will go

- Bubble wrap is great for your valuables

- Where possible, dismantle furniture that is not essential 

- Pack a ‘moving box' with essentials and cleaning materials

- Keep passports and other important items with you

On the day

Take final meter readings

- Leave a note for the new owners explaining how things work

- Make arrangements for refreshments and food on moving day

- Plan your journey between your old and new property

- Pick up the keys to the property from the estate agents


A quick checklist for when you’re buying a home.

Your Finances

Work out how much you can afford to spend

- How much deposit have you saved up?

- Find the best mortgage offer for you

- Get an offer lined up from a mortgage lender

- Work out all costs taking into consideration stamp duty, solicitors, surveys and moving.

Finding your perfect home

Use Property Wishes to view properties in your area and price range

- Draw up ‘would like' and ‘really need' lists

- Ask about any service charges

- Check out parking, storage and council tax

- Check out local information for amenities, schools and transport links

- Can’t find a property is your desired area for your budget? You may want to consider extending your search

Put in an offer on the property

Choose a solicitor and check title deed information and local searches

- Choose a surveyor and organise a survey or valuation

- Ask to see the Energy Performance Certificate for the property

- Make enquiries if buying a leasehold flat to understand  who's the freeholder and managing agent, how much are ground fees and service charges

- Make an offer in writing

- Agree a date when the vendor moves out and you move in

- Set the completion date

All the final paperwork

Sign contracts for exchange

- Pay the balance of the property's price

- Get the transfer document and title deeds

- Take out building and contents insurance

- Pay stamp duty, Land Registry and solicitor's fees

Then simply enjoy your new home!