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8 Tips for Choosing Your First Studio to Rent

8 Tips for Choosing Your First Studio to Rent

By David Raymond Southall Google+

“Adulting” can feel overrated at times. The responsibilities. The pressures. The feeling of being out on your own with no safety net. 
You’re on your own for the first time, and you may feel overwhelmed with the choices you now need to make. Finding a place to live doesn’t have to be one of them.  
Let’s take a look at 8 great tips for choosing your first studio to rent.

Tip 1: Create a Budget… And Stick to It!

When looking for a studio to rent, you’ll want to know how much money you’ll need for the first year. This includes any bills that you might have initially overlooked. 
Determine how much monthly income you’ll have, and create a monthly budget. Identify expenses such as:

  • Rent
  • Deposit
  • Food
  • Water
  • Gas 
  • Electric 
  • Clothing 
  • Car repairs
  • Insurances
  • Emergency fund

Get a clear idea of how much you can afford on rent and keep it at 30% or below your monthly income. Don’t waste time researching a studio to rent if you know you can’t afford it. 

Tip 2: Consider Roommates

If you’re looking for a one-bedroom place, roommates may be beyond your comfort level. But if you’re considering a multiple bedroom flat, opt to bring in some extra financial help. You may also make a new best friend. 

Tip 3: Prepare a Renter’s Resume

A renter’s resume is composed of things your building’s superintendent would need to determine if you’re a good fit. These include things such as:

  • Names and contact information of your last landlords, if applicable 
  • Previous jobs to demonstrate your credibility in being able to support a lease agreement
  • Personal references
  • Proof of your monthly income
  • A copy of your credit report

A potential landlord is looking for someone who will hold up his/her end of the deal in a lease. Above all, the landlord wants to avoid having to evict a tenant.

Tip 4: Read Before You Sign

When deciding on a studio to rent, it can be easy to get ahead of yourself. Maybe you tour the apartment, chat with the landlord, then hastily sign the lease without reading it thoroughly. This is an all-too-common newbie renter error.
As the tenant, it’s your responsibility to know everything your lease entails. 
Take special note of:

  • The dates on the leasing agreement
  • The rental price agreed upon
  • Rental deposit and any initial fees required upfront
  • Pet expectations and requirements 
  • Grounds upon which the rental agreement can become void
  • Consequences of moving out early
  • Criteria for subleasing
  • Any expectations for repairs, mowing the lawn, fixing damages
  • Any requirement for renter’s insurance
  • Guest rules such as parking, number of days they can stay at your place, etc.

Tip 5: Ask Questions Before You Sign

When searching for the perfect studio to rent, do your research and be fully informed before committing to a lease. Check out past renters through testimonials, online reviews or knocking on a door.
You can browse the FAQ page of the apartment complex. This may answer several of your questions and remind you to ask certain other ones yourself.

Tip 6: Know What to Look For

When inspecting your studio to rent, you’ll want to take notice of a few key areas:

Walls and Window Fixtures

Inspect the walls and note whether they’re thin or thick, because this will determine how much of your neighbors’ business you hear. Also, consider outdoor walls’ position in relation to the sun. If it’s shaded for most of the day, it will stay cooler, which can be nice in the summer and annoying in the winter. 
Check the windows to makes sure they shut properly. If the windows are deformed or have cracks that prevent you from being able to close them sufficiently, your heating/cooling bill will be affected.

Pipes

Don’t be shy when checking the quality of the pipes. Note if they look old or are prone to leaks.

Sink and Shower Faucets, Shower Heads, Toilet 

Inspect the hot and cold water to make sure the water heats in an adequate amount of time. Having to run your shower for 15 minutes before it gets warm, will quickly run up your water bill. Also, check the quality of the water pressure.
You may also want to test how the toilet flushes. Does it run, wasting valuable water? Does it flush fully? 

Major Appliances and Electricity

When inspecting your studio to rent, check refrigerators, light switches and any other devices in the home. Make sure the air conditioning and heater work sufficiently, as well. Ask about the typical monthly bill.

Noise

If you’re a student trying to study or a person who just prefers the quiet life, note the noise level, foot and car traffic, and party spots in the area. Ask other tenants and the landlord to get a clear idea of what you may be in for.

Tip 7: Make Friends With Your Landlord

This may go without saying, but you’ll be in better hands if you make an effort to be cordial to your landlord. Get on a first name basis, show gratitude and wave when he/she passes by.  

Tip 8: Visualize Your Space

You’ll want to have a good idea of what you want to do with your studio space to select the one that’s right for you. Know how you want to decorate it and what you’ll need to make that happen.
For instance, do you need tall ceilings or an open kitchen with simple bar stools, or would you rather a cozy, smaller space with a formal dining table and chairs? Are you going to try to utilize robotic furniture to maximize your space?
Be clear on what you want and look for that.

Finding the Best Studio to Rent 

Getting out on your own can be challenging at best and terrifying at worst. It can be made easier by getting help from reliable sources. To find out more about how you can find the best studio to rent, check us out at Heart-Is.

5 Tips for Finding Flats to Rent for University

5 Tips for Finding Flats to Rent for University

By David Raymond Southall Google+

Once you’ve survived Freshers’ Week and made some good friends, you’re officially ready for the next challenge of finding flats to rent to live with your new good friends next year.

For first year students, on-campus accommodation makes turning up to lectures a lot easier – and the journey home from the student union a lot shorter. 

Searching through student flats to rent in your area can be difficult, but with these top tips you’ll be sure to find the right flat for you and your future flatmates!

1. Start Searching Early for Flats to Rent

Remember that you won’t be the only student searching for somewhere to live. You’ll face a lot of competition for flats to rent close to your university, so it’s best to start your search early. 

Around the end of March is a good time to start looking. By then you’ll have a good idea of who you want to live with and where, but it’s before the busy exam period gets underway.  

Start your search by posting a free advert as a home seeker. You can do this individually or team up with some friends to search for a flat. That way potential landlords can get in touch with you, and you can check listings for flats to rent with the home providers on the site. 

You should also stop by your university’s accommodation office for free advice and guidance about renting in your area.   

2. Take a Checklist

Once you’ve found a flat that you’re interested in renting, you’ll want to view it with your future flatmates. 

Arrange a time that suits everyone so you can all see the property before you commit. Plus, with more eyes viewing the flat you can make sure that you don’t miss anything. 

Get together before the viewing and print out a flat viewing checklist to take with you. You should also write a list of additional questions so that you don’t forget to ask something once you get there. 

You could even assign roles between you so that you cover all the bases. For example, while one of you is asking questions, another person can tick off items on the checklist, and someone else can be responsible for taking photos. 

One of your main considerations will be the location of the property and the distance to campus. If the flats to rent near uni are out of your budget, investigate the transport links near the property so you know how long your journey will take.

Look at what services and amenities are nearby too. If the flat is near a supermarket then lugging back all those tins of baked beans will be a lot easier! 

While you’re viewing the flat, make sure to look for any signs of damp or mould. A lot of student rentals are old properties and some are poorly maintained.

Old plumbing can also mean low water pressure so check this while you’re inspecting the bathroom. Check that the flat is well-insulated too, as you don’t want to be paying extortionate heating bills in winter.   

And, most importantly, check the safety and security of the flat. Make sure that all the doors and windows lock, inspect plug sockets and test any smoke alarms. You should also ask the landlord about whether the flat has an up-to-date Gas Safety Certificate, which is required by law. 

But, be sure to see at least three or four flats before you commit. This way you’ll be able to compare the advantages and disadvantages of different rentals. And, if your favourite gets snapped up you’ll have a back-up plan. 

3. Talk to Other Tenants

If you’re lucky enough to view a property when the current tenants are at home then grab the chance to ask them what they think of the flat. 

Not only have the current tenants got the best idea of what it’s really like to live there, they also have nothing to lose by telling you the truth. 

But instead of asking them closed questions which force yes or no answers, ask them to name the best and worst part of living in the flat. 

This way you can get a good idea of what they value in their home and neighbourhood, and see if you share their priorities. And, as long as your landlord isn’t right there, they might even make you aware of something that the landlord hasn’t mentioned. 

4. Read the Tenancy Agreement and Inventory Carefully 

Viewing flats to rent and talking to the current tenants will give you a really good idea of what to expect while you’re searching for a student rental.  

However, it’s crucial that you check the tenancy agreement and inventory carefully to avoid any nasty surprises. 

The tenancy agreement will outline what is expected of you as the tenants in terms of payment and caring for the property. 

This includes details such as the deposit, the length of the agreement, the notice period, penalty for late payment, payment of bills, and joint liability for early cancellation. 

The inventory is a list of items included in the rental of the flat, such as furniture, appliances, and utensils. The inventory should also include any damage to the property before the start date of your contract, such as a stained carpet or broken bathroom tiles.  

5. Finalise the Details

Once you decide on a flat then you are likely to have more in-depth questions for the landlord before you sign. 

If you’re still unsure of any part of the tenancy agreement then this is the time to bring it up. Have a parent or someone you trust look it over to confirm that it’s clear and fair.

You also may need to double check details with your landlord such as when you can move in, whether you will have to pay full or partial rent up until then, and what the process is for getting any repairs done. 

And, if you made a note of any damage that doesn’t seem to be on the inventory then make the landlord aware of this so that the inventory can be updated and signed.  

Last but not least, it’s crucial to finalise the details with your flatmates.

Decide if those with smaller rooms will pay less rent, and if the deposit will be divided accordingly or not. Set clear rules for bringing guests, and how bills and shared items will be paid for. 

You definitely don’t want to find the perfect flat and then disagree on living arrangements.

Find the Right Student Flat for You

Paying for your university accommodation will be your biggest monthly expense, but you will spend a lot of time in your flat studying at home. So, it’s important to find somewhere that fits your needs and your budget.  

This combined with having to take the opinions of several people into consideration can make looking for a flat to share very difficult.

But, by following these five tips for finding a flat you are sure to find accommodation that meets all your requirements. 

If you have any questions about finding student flats to rent, contact us today.