Find the perfect rental flat can be overwhelming, especially if you have no free time on your hands. But everything is more manageable when you break it down into steps – including finding a new flat. When you’re ready for a new place to call home, take the process one step at a time by following this guide.
1. Consider Your Must-Haves
Before you start combing through online property listings, write down the amenities and features you absolutely need. One bedroom or two? Do you want a separate space for your office? Is a big kitchen or a balcony important? Does it need to be furnished? Your must list will be unique and should be comprehensive. A few amenities you might want to consider:
- Laundry facilities
This list will be things you cannot budge on. If you’re looking for a certain amount of square feet, for instance, you won’t settle on anything smaller. Write this list down or type it up and keep it with you through each next step of the process. Sticking to your must-haves will make things much easier later on.
2. Consider Your Nice-to-Haves
After you do your must-haves, consider you nice-to-haves. These features are things your ideal flat would have, but it’s not a dealbreaker if they don’t. Nice-to-haves could be a building with a lift, air conditioning, built-in fitness center, or covered parking.
Use your must list as a first filter when looking for properties, then your nice-to-haves as a second filter. If you don’t see many properties with all of your must-haves and at least some of your nice-to-haves, you may want to reconsider your lists. Or, move on to the next step in the process…
3. Determine Your Price Range
Defining your budget isn’t the first step because your price range will come from the type of flat and amenities you need. Price ranges for studios are not the same as price ranges for three-bedroom flats. For this reason, the budget doesn’t come first.
Ideally, you could do the first three steps in conjunction, getting a sense of what your dream flat costs, then getting more realistic with your price tag. Whether you do them in order or at the same time, these first three steps are vital to the search process.
4. Find a Good Area
Once you know what kind of flat you’re after and how much you’re willing to spend, you can look for area you like. If you’re staying in the same city you probably have an idea of the various quarters or will be able to ask friends or coworkers for their opinions.
If you’re moving somewhere completely new, spend some time researching. Decide if you want to live close to the city centre or further away. The centre is likely to have more shops, restaurants, amenities, and connections to public transport. If you’re moving for work or university, use your office or campus as a starting point.
5. Research the Area
Once you’ve found a few towns or areas that seem nice, do some more investigative work. Check out the social media accounts of local shops or businesses to see how active they are. Try to find crime data for that area if it’s available. If you have school-age kids, look for catchment areas.
Researching the area is probably one of the hardest steps in finding a new rental flat. It’s difficult to get a sense of what living somewhere is like by just looking online or visiting once. Still, you can be methodical in your area research, by using property search tools that let you search by amenities, instead of just by price or size.
6. Calculate Your Commute
If you’re moving for work, one of the most important factors for your new flat will be your commute. In large cities, expect long commute times, unless you live in the same area as your new office. You’ll have to travel to and from work every day, so consider how long of a commute you’re willing to put up with.
If you’re working remotely, either every day or part-time, your commute to the office might not matter so much. But you still might want to consider proximity to coworking spaces or cafes, if you don’t plan to spend every working day at home.
7. Search Property Listings
With your must-have list, price range, locality, and work commute in hand, you can finally start to seriously look for flats. If you’re searching online, always use reputable sites and be cautious when contacting private landlords. Apply as many of your criteria as possible and try to narrow down your search.
8. Schedule a Viewing
When you finally find a flat that looks ideal, schedule a viewing! If you can, try to set aside a block of time for looking at flats. Spend a whole afternoon or weekend on it, so you stay in the right frame of mind. By trying to squeeze viewings into your busy schedule, you’ll feel rushed and might make a decision on a new flat that you’ll regret.
Finding the perfect rental flat is doable if you approach it as a to-do list. If you follow these steps, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.