When dealing with my clients there is always one priority – to find a home. The process to secure a rental property is no different to purchasing a property. Tenants still require good quality accommodation in a quality area that provides a quality standard of living at a fair price.

With the number of people renting at an all-time high it’s no wonder the demand is, in some instances, outstripping supply. But don’t be fooled into making a rash decision about a property. There are things you must know and knowledge you should be armed with to ensure you find your dream home.
Here are my five top tips you should know when looking to rent a home: [LIST=1]
[*][B]Be clear on what your requirements are[/B].
[/LIST] Before you even start to look for properties create a check-list of requirements and priorities. This will not only help you focus but it will enable you to focus on what is really important and aspects you would be willing to compromise on. Things to consider are: location, type of property, length of tenancy, furnished or unfurnished, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, off-street parking, garden, town or country and commutable distance. [LIST=1]
[*][B]Set your budget and stick to it.[/B]
[/LIST] It sounds simple but in my experience it’s easy to get carried away and divert your budget to something more expensive. Don’t do it, calculate your manageable budget and stick to it. Don’t forget to consider council tax costs, utility bills and a little known stumbling block of weekly rental against monthly rental. Do not calculate monthly rental based on weekly rental multiplied by four. Monthly rentals are commonly charged by multiplying by 4.33; this has the potential to take you beyond your manageable budget. [LIST=1]
[*][B]Research the market.[/B]
[/LIST] Property portals such as RightMove, PrimeLocation and Zoopla are great for researching the types of properties available but I’d advise you don’t use them as a reference for rental charges – the figures they quote are generalised and therefore not accurate. The best form of research is to engage with agents directly, visit their premises and develop a relationship. By researching your market face to face with the experts you are much more likely to become aware of the latest rental opportunities; which in-turn puts you much closer to finding your dream home. [LIST=1]
[*][B]How to choose the right agent for you.[/B]
[/LIST] Also choose an agent local to the area you are looking to live in. A local agent has much more knowledge about their local area and will be much more equipped to advise on the pros and cons. Ensure your agent is credible and double check their credentials – ensure they are accountable and part of a professional body. The chances are if they do not belong to a professional body they will not be operating under any form of professional conduct and at worse are not acting legally. [LIST=1]
[*][B]Don’t be fooled by hidden costs.[/B]
[/LIST] Be clear what the costs are on top of your monthly rental fee. An agent will charge you a fee to handle administrative work, such as checking references. In addition you will be required to provide a bond. A bond is a security deposit which can range in price but is usually one month’s rent up front. This should be held in a Government backed Tenancy Deposit Scheme and will be returned to you at the end of your tenancy, subject to the terms of your tenancy agreement. A good agent will always be very transparent about these costs when you initially meet them.

Take my advice and use these tips and reduce the time and trouble it could take you to find your ideal home.

[B][FONT=&quot]Nichola Wallis, [URL=”http://www.holroydmiller.co.uk/”]Holroyd Miller[/URL] estate agents[/FONT][/B]