A home in London – 10 steps of renting a property

Everyone needs a home

There comes a time in everyone’s life when we want to be independent, have our own money, our own place and our own life. We’ve had enough of asking for pocket money from our parents or waiting for them to offer it in exchange of us washing the dishes or doing the laundry.

We want a job and responsibilities, we want to be full time grown up’s and get the most out of our adult life. Give me a smile if this is all you ever wanted since you were a child doing that annoying maths homework 😊

We’ve all been there. And independently of how we’ve shaped our lives, we all need a home. Some are luckier or maybe worked harder and can buy themselves a property. The rest of us will have to rent a place, depending on our budget and needs.

And here’s why I am writing this post, so I can share with you my renting experience so far, the situations I have been through and which are the biggest challenges of renting a place from my point of view.

My story

Three years back on the 5th of September I moved to this wonderful city, where life is completely different to what I had been used to. Suddenly everything started moving quicker, people, buses, trains, time… 2 good people offered me a place in their home even if they didn’t know me too well and they trusted me to take care of their little ones. I will always be grateful for this. They treated me like family, and I think this is what matters the most when you come alone in a foreign country.

 After one month I started paying the rent, as I was already having a job, and everything was going well. I think this is the best-case scenario, when you know someone that has a room to rent. It’s a cheap option, and on top of that you won’t have to worry about anything else but paying the rent, as most of the times in this situation the bills are included in the price you pay for the rent.

In November 2017 I moved with Aleks. He was renting a room in someone’s house as well, the difference being that he didn’t know those people from before. While at the previous place I didn’t share the bathroom, here we were sharing it with one more family. In the beginning everything was ok, but after a while our room started to feel smaller and smaller every day. Sharing the bathroom and the kitchen with the other family wasn’t that nice anymore, they had a very different lifestyle to ours, so we decided that it’s time to move on and get our own place.

Having a room rented in a shared house can be a great option if you want to raise a lot of money or you can’t yet meet the criteria for renting a whole property. As I said, it is cheaper, and it doesn’t give you as much headache as getting a property. And here comes the ‘But…’

But if you finally want to have your own place wrapped up with some intimacy and comfort, I thought of giving you some tips about how you can rent a property in London.

10 steps of getting a home in London

Think about it long term

Most landlords and agencies will rent you a property for at least 1 year and a deposit will be involved in the scheme. Also, depending on where the property is located, you will need to add up the travel costs. If you find a property to rent through an agency, there’s going to be some fees added to that as well. Also, you need to make sure that after paying the rent you will still have enough left for Council Tax, utility bills, and of course, for food.

Considering that the whole point of this step is privacy and comfort, we are talking about 2 people only contributing to all these costs. Of course, if you have kids or pets, you’ll also need to think about their needs when taking this step.

Make a budget

Put everything on a paper and set up a budget. How much can you pay for the rent so you can also have a decent life with all the costs involved. It is essential to know exactly what you can afford before actually starting  to look for a place.

Set up a radius area

It would be best if you would find a property close to your workplace, but again, you need to take into consideration the travel costs. For example, we had to choose between 3 apartments we liked, and one of the reasons why we chose this one was the location. Have in mind that not only money but time as well is a cost. If the property that is located a bit further is cheaper, make sure that the difference  of money is compensatory for the time and money you spend  traveling.

Also, another cost that might differ is the Council Tax, which varies depending on the borough where the property belongs to. There is a very easy way of finding out how much the Council Tax will be, just paste the property’s postcode here and click search. 😊

Know when exactly you want to move

This is mainly important for your current landlord, as you might have paid a deposit in the beginning, I believe that you would like that money back.

More than this, when you are renting a property a background check is done and your current landlord Will have to give a reference about you. Of course, you will want this reference to be a good one so you can actually get the place you want and be able to move.

This is why you need to make sure you communicate your moving plans with your current landlord and give enough notice before you’ll go.

Search for your dream home

There’s plenty of websites where you can find places to rent, so you will have to give yourself enough time to find that option that suits your needs best. Here’s some places where you can browse:

It’s good to have a look on all of them, as sometimes you can find the same property at different prices. Every website has many filtering options which allow you customize your search depending on your budget and needs.

When we moved, we chose our apartment from, the reason being the structure of the website and the fact that you can find information regarding the approximate costs for the bills. Also, they have an option of checking your credit score for free, without affecting it.

But as I said, it’s best to have a look on every website, to make sure you’ll explore all the options and make the right choice. At the end of the day, that is going to be your home for at least 1 year.

Visit the places

After you did a good research and already have a list of properties that you can afford and you really like, you will have to book visits, to make sure that the property is what you are expecting.

This step is incredibly time consuming, so you will have to plan wisely, especially if you are doing this between the working hours.

When you are visiting, check everything and ask questions!

Check the windows, the water, the lights, the gas, the sockets, the furniture if there is any, and make sure nothing is faulty. Many houses can look amazing but have a lot of tricks that can make you regret that you didn’t check when you had the chance. If the space suits your needs and the property is exactly as described on the website, then you’re good to go.

Passing the credit score

This is a process that you will go through especially if you are renting through an agency, as they will have to make sure you are trustworthy and also that you earn enough to pay the rent and the bills for the whole duration of the contract. They will contact your current landlord and your employer to ask for reference, and they will also ask you to provide bank statements for the last few months.

Signing the contract

Now that you are all set, you have been approved to rent the property and got all things done, you will have to sign the contract. The real estate agent will take you through the whole process, however if you are renting directly from the landlord this step will be a bit easier as there will be less fees to pay and less paperwork to sign.

Also, someone from a third-party company is going to make an inventory check of everything you can find in the property. It can be very specific and quite big so make sure you read everything carefully and also check everything before signing it.

Then there comes the agreement. Again, read it carefully before you sign it, to make sure that you are safe and there are no hidden clauses.

Moving your stuff

If you have a car and no furniture to move, this will be quite easy. Or at least a bit easier. Anyway, you might need a few trips back and forth unless you actually own a van.

When we moved last year, we paid for a van that we found online. It was around £80, and we pretty much moved everything in one go. You can find these services online, you just need to google ‘Move my stuff’ and a lot of websites will come up. You can get quotes from all of them and then compare and choose the one that’s the most convenient for you.

Make it look like home and enjoy

After you moved everything, it’s time to clean the house, unpack and sort everything out, arrange your stuff and do everything you need to make your new place look, and most important, feel like home.

I hope this post was helpful and you will find the best new place for you and your family or friends.

If you think that someone else cold use this information, I would be more than grateful if you’d share this post with them.


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