The 5-Step Guide to Finding Your First Home to Rent

Step 1: Set Your Budget

First off, you’ll want to understand your budget before you begin looking for a home to rent. Your budget is the amount you can reasonably spend on rent. It would help if you also considered all of your other expenses such as general living expenses (eating out, clothes, etc.), travel costs, contents insurance, TV license, etc. 

Some landlords, like Åben, offer an all-inclusive rent which includes all of your household bills. However, if this arrangement is not available, then you will also need to consider the cost of council tax, water bills, gas and electricity and broadband. 

Step 2: Refine Your Criteria

It’s good to have a solid idea of what you are looking for in a house or room. If you are renting with a partner, then now is the time to sit and come up with a list of must-haves and should-haves for your new home. 

Depending on whether you are looking to rent a house, flat, or a house share, you will need to consider the following:

  • The number and size of the bedrooms
  • The amount of living space available (both shared living space and private living space) – is a separate living room important to you? Would you prefer an open plan kitchen diner?
  • The number of flatmates you’ll be sharing with (if it’s a house share)?
  • Do you want the furniture to be included in the rent or not? If yes, then you’ll want to be happy with the amount of furniture and storage provided. Remember, you can always ask the landlord if something is missing. Any good landlord should accommodate reasonable requests. 
  • The length of the tenancy. It’s good to have an idea of what length tenancy you are after. Most start at six months and can be extended if both parties are happy.

Step 3: Choose Your Search Area

You might have an area you want to live in mind already, or you might be considering several different areas and need to narrow down your search slightly. 

It’s always worth checking first that the area(s) you have in mind have houses available within your budget that meet your criteria. If none are available, then it might be time to expand your search area slightly or look at increasing your budget if you can. 

To narrow down on your search area, you will want to consider what local amenities are nearby, such as your nearest supermarket, gym or pub etc. and any friends or family that live nearby. 

Unless you work from home, you will also want to consider the proximity to your workplace and transport links to work. It’s good to have an idea of your limit on travel time into work so you can quickly eliminate pockets of areas from your search. 

Step 4: Arrange Viewings

Once you have your budget, area and criteria, it should be fairly straightforward to choose some houses for rent that fit within your remit that you would like to view. Keep an open mind when viewing houses and make sure to ask lots of questions as you are going around. Remember, the viewing agent or the landlord should be able to put your mind at ease if you have any concerns and the best time for this is on the viewing.

Hint: Find out what questions to ask when looking for a rental property here

The area around the house is also important, so either before or after the viewing it’s a good idea to walk the streets around the house to see whether you like the local area. Try walking to your local shop or bus stop to check the distance/time. 

Step 5: Make an Offer

Finally, you’ve found a house you like that is ticking all the boxes and is within budget, so what next? If you want the house or room that you viewed then try not to take too long to get back to the landlord or agent with an offer, especially in a quick market a day or two could mean that the house/room has gone to another tenant. Get the offer in quickly if you are happy with the home. There will always be others to view, but if you feel at home then go with your gut and get that offer in. 

We hope this helps with your search, if you are interested in a house share in Derby then do check out our rooms for rent. Happy house hunting!

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