Starting Your Search

Hi there! We’ve heard that you are moving house so we’ve put together some points that we think would be fantastic for you to keep in mind before you venture out on this exciting journey. Asking yourself these questions prior to looking for a new place will allow you to make excellent choices whilst also keeping your personal situation in mind.

Where is the best place to live for me?

Depending on your priorities, you will definitely be able to find a home in a place that suits your needs and lifestyle. However, some factors to keep in mind would be:

  • your commute to work/school
  • your total budget
  • is green space, health and fitness, a lively neighbourhood, or good local schooling important to you? Thinking about these factors beforehand, will ensure that you find your perfect home in an area that has your key amenities. 

Thankfully, SearchSmartly simplifies this step by allowing you to include these factors into your search and provides a range of options to choose from. 

Calculating rent affordability in the UK

Calculating how much rent you can afford to pay for a home in the UK is an excellent first step. It’s a good idea to set a monthly rent budget. The majority of homes do not include bills (which can be an extra 25% of your monthly rent cost), as well as additional charges, such as paying a 5-week deposit. Including these costs in your budget will help you to make better decisions in this search process.                 

In addition, calculating rent affordability will be very useful as agents are becoming stricter with their financial checks in order to qualify you as a tenant. As a rule, your income should be at least 30X the monthly rent so that you can fulfill your other expenses too. If you earn just below 30X the monthly rent, the agent may ask for proof of funds (cash) in the bank in order for you to pass the financial checks for a particular property. 

What are the costs of renting in the UK?

  • Rent price: although the rent price is advertised, always double check what the rent per month is with the agent before putting in an offer for the property.  You can also ask the landlord whether the rent is negotiable or not and the negotiation could also be non-monetary instead, e.g (the landlord agreeing to swapping out a piece of furniture or changing a break clause from 6 to 8 months). Your ability to negotiate will depend on the market: in the winter months the market tends to quieten down so you may find that there is more room to negotiate compared to in the summer, where there are so many competing offers.

It’s also very important that you have all the supporting documents prepared beforehand and that you are responding to emails and phone calls quickly. This gives the landlord a good level of confidence that you will be an excellent tenant for the property.

  •  Bills: Always subtract your estimated bills from your maximum budget per month, and then set that number as your maximum willingness to pay for rent. You may find a property where bills are included however, this is not that common. It’s also worth having a look at the energy ratings for the properties that you are keen to view as properties with energy ratings of A or B for example will cost less than those with C or D. All properties advertised on SearchSmartly have this information at the bottom of the page. If bills are included, remember that you do not have to stick to the same energy provider that the landlord has chosen – you are able to change if you wish. 
  • Council tax: It is mandatory to pay council tax on properties in the UK.  Certain groups may be exempt from paying, such as households where all tenants are students, so it’s important to discuss this point at the viewing.