Whether you do it for a first time or spent most of your life in rented apartments, searching for new flat, dealing with all the red tape and finally moving in is always a very stressful time and there is a lot to remember.
First you must find a perfect location for your new home. Some people prefer living close to the city centre while the others would rather move out of the noise and crowd and live in the outskirts. It all depends on your preferences. Important thing to consider is your place of work. Living nearby can save you time and money - you can simply walk to work instead of spending hours in overcrowded buses or in the traffic jams. If you don't want or can't live close to your workplace check the public transport - are there any buses or trains going in the right direction? If not, you'll either spend a fortune on taxis or half of your life on getting to work. If you have a car check if there are any roads on your way to work that are likely to be very busy during peak hours. Private parking is a thing to consider - it's safer and more convenient than on-street parking spaces.
When deciding on location one of the most important things is safety. We all know that there are better areas and worse areas. Flats in the latter are often much cheaper, but sometimes it is not worth the risk especially when you have children.
The other very important factor is price. According to the rule of thumb, the further away from the city centre, the cheaper. Flats are generally more expensive in so called "posh" neighbourhoods. If you decide to let cheap flat in the outskirts to save money bear in mind that costs of public transport or fuel may exceed the difference. Therefore in many cases it is cheaper to let more expensive flat and save money on transportation.
When you know exactly what you want, it is time to start searching for your dream home. The easiest way is to browse websites of letting agencies or portals such as Lettingweb or Citylets. Check out flats that suit you and arrange viewing. See as many flats as possible - do not narrow your choice. Never sign any papers if you have not seen the flat - in many cases you will not be able to pull out. Do not arrange any viewings if you know you will have a little time. Many agencies offer weekend viewing for those, who do not have time during the week. Take your time while viewing the property. Do not be afraid to ask questions - letting agent is there to help you. Be picky - you will live in this flat for at least 6 months, so it must be just as you imagine your perfect flat. Pay particular attention to condition of windows, heating, kitchen appliances and bathroom. If you smell mould or see any black or brown streaks around the windows, in the corners or on the tile grout, forget about this flat. You do not want to spend hours fighting off the mould.
If you are 100% sure this is the flat you want, do not wait. Go straight to the letting agency and pay your holding fee. It will take the property off the market and secure it for you. In some cases you will be able to do this over the phone. The next step is the application - fill it up as accurately as possible to avoid disappointment. When your application is successful you can sign the tenancy agreement, pay the deposit and start making removal arrangements. Before you move the agency will supply you with a copy of inventory - check it carefully, note any discrepancies and hand it to your agency. If you do not do that you can be charged for any damaged or missing items, even if they were like that before you moved in. Letting agency will set up gas and electricity accounts for you. If you want home broadband or cable TV it is your responsibility to arrange accounts. Remember to change the address in your bank and other important institutions. You must also register in local council and pay Council Tax regularly. And remember - letting agents are there for you, so do not be afraid to ask if you need any help or advice.
Letting can be a tough task, but when you follow these simple rules it will not be half as bad as you imagined.