How to Submit a Successful Offer on a Rental Property
You’ve invested lots of time in your search, and now you’ve finally found the perfect flat to rent.
Once you are at this stage, it’s really important to act quickly to maximise your chances of securing the place, particularly when other people may also be interested in the same flat.
What’s the most important information you need to have at your fingertips to get your foot in the door? And how does the whole process work?
SearchSmartly has compiled a useful guide to make sure you’re fully prepared.
First of all, you’re going to have to formally submit an offer on your chosen property. Your estate agent will provide you with a template form to fill in, but this will include key information about who you are, how long you’re interested in renting the property for, what you are willing to pay for it, and any other critical details such as whether you’d like the property furnished or not. It’s important to get this right to make your offer the most interesting one for the landlord, and avoid making some common mistakes that can result in your offer being rejected immediately.
When you have submitted your offer, you will be asked to pay a holding deposit equivalent to one week’s rent in order for the agent to take the property off the market during your referencing process. This period is when all paperwork and background checks will take place and can typically last for up to three weeks.
Price and Tenancy Dates
It goes without saying that the more you are willing to pay for the rent, the more likely your offer will be accepted! Start by checking if the asking price for your flat is reasonable by comparing similar flats in the area. Also, ask if any bills (water, electricity or gas) are included in the rent. With this information to hand, if you are willing to pay the asking price then this will maximise your chance of getting your offer accepted. If you feel the asking price is too high based on your research, you can put in an offer below the asking price. We have seen offers at 3-5% below the asking price getting accepted in some cases, but bear in mind that this will only work if there isn’t much interest in the property – perhaps because it’s slightly older, or if there are too few people searching in that particular area. In places where there is lots of demand, particularly in parts of London, the ‘winning’ offer can be above the asking price!
Every property has a date from which it is available to move in. This is typically when the outgoing tenant has vacated the property, and will usually be advertised in the property listing itself. The closer to this date that you can move in, the more attractive your offer will be. This is because your move date will reduce the potential ‘void’ period for the landlord where nobody is paying any rent, and will improve their return.
‘Void’ periods can impose high costs for landlords, as can the listing fees that they have to pay to agents every time a new tenant moves in. As a result, shorter tenancies are generally less attractive to landlords. Consider offering to sign a longer contract to make your offer more attractive. It is most common for tenancies to last around a year, but you could have a lease of two or three years.
Make sure you check the contract carefully. There are a number of things to look out for and to negotiate, such as if the property is furnished. Make sure you agree on refurbishment or purchase of additional furnishings in the offer. For example, if you love a flat and are happy with the asking price but want a mattress included with the furnished bedrooms, it is perfectly reasonable to make this a condition within your offer. The same goes with replacing old furniture or fixing any fittings that don’t appear to be working as they should.
Be upfront about what you expect and go into detail about this. You don’t want to discover later down the line that something you wish to have in the contract hasn’t been included when you’ve paid the deposit.
Payment and Fees
For rental properties, agents will typically require that incoming tenants meet the financial eligibility criteria which is as follows:
- The tenants earn 30 times the monthly rent, OR
- The incoming tenants have a UK guarantor that can meet the above requirement, OR
- Incoming tenants are able to pay 6 months’ rent up front.
The good news is that agents are no longer be able to charge renters any administration fee for tenancies by law, so make sure that this is the case by ensuring that the only payments you make relate to your refundable deposit and the rent that you pay in advance of your move.
SearchSmartly Top Tip: Make sure you get this information in writing from the beginning so that you have a paper trail of what is agreed. This can be done via email.
Get your references lined up from people who are likely to put in a good word on your behalf. Use people who know you and can attest to your reliability. For example you could use former flatmates or former landlords (where you’ve been a respectable tenant of course).
You could also obtain a ‘character reference’ from an employer to show you are reliable.
Make sure you have the documentation for your references ready to go before you put your offer in place, as things can move quickly and you’ll want to make sure there are no unnecessary delays on your end.
Make sure you have enough money readily available to put down for the deposit. You’ll be in a great position if you have the money in your account ready to be bank transferred ASAP. The value of this deposit should be no more than the value of 5 weeks worth of rent.
We hope this information will allow you to secure that gorgeous flat you’ve been eyeing up in London and beyond. Good luck!