While both renting and buying have their own sets of advantages, renting does appear to have an edge for people who are not completely ready to commit to buying, especially those who are younger and cannot yet afford a deposit.
Here are a few questions and answer from a recent first-time renter, James, about his experience renting his first property…
At this stage of my life renting just seemed like the more logical next step for me. Buying is a big commitment both in terms of costs and being tied down to repaying a mortgage.
I wasn’t ready to commit to living long term in one location and wasn’t sure about my plans for the immediate future. Renting gives me that flexibility to simply move out and move on when my tenancy is up and that freedom is what attracted me to renting over buying.
Travelling is a big goal of mine and with renting I can go as soon as I’ve saved up enough!
It’s also worth mentioning the constraints of saving for a deposit when purchasing a property. When I was looking to purchase, my mortgage advisor said I could borrow around £110,000.
In the areas I wanted to purchase – close to my workplace – the properties started at around £130,000. This meant I’d need to save a £20,000+ deposit before I could even consider purchasing. For me, at this stage of my life, it was an unrealistic prospect and I’d end up having to live in an area I didn’t want to if I bought.
I wasn’t entirely sure where I wanted to live! All I knew was that I wanted to be somewhere in Greater Manchester, fairly close to work.
To be honest the first few properties we saw weren’t great. This was the frustrating part of not knowing specifically where I’d ideally like to live. I also didn’t know Manchester that well as I was moving from Cheshire which added to the confusion.
It was during this period of confusion that I was able to really leverage my great letting agents as they have fantastic local knowledge of the areas I was looking to rent.
Eventually, I had my heart set on Didsbury. The vibrant town centre, amazing transport links and its proximity to Manchester city centre made it too good to pass up on. Buying in Didsbury was too expensive but renting was a very realistic prospect.
This is another benefit to renting, it gives access to live in nearly any location that you wouldn’t normally be able to if you wanted to buy!
I’d recommend narrowing your search down to one location quickly and going from there. Once I decided where I wanted to live I contacted as many local agents as possible and asked for recommendations.
I took a day of work and viewed 7 properties one of which is the property I’m renting today. Within 2 weeks of starting my search, I’d found the property I wanted. It all starts to snowball very quickly once you find an area you love and a great agent!
I started looking for rental properties in March and within 2 weeks had already found the property I wanted. From here I needed to prove I had the funds to afford the property.
This included proof of salary and bank statements. Most agents also want a reference – usually from your work – to also confirm you earn what you say you do. Once this is all sorted I picked a moving in date and it was all set. In total it took roughly 6 weeks from start to finish.
Related Article: Top Tips for Property Viewings | What to look out for.
Yes, for me this was around 1 months’ rent. This is protected by a governmental deposit protection scheme so as long as you don’t destroy the property you should get it back when the tenancy ends. I also had to pay £100 for admin costs, but now anyone who rents, from the 1st of June, landlords are no longer allowed to charge this as there is a tenant fee ban. Read more about this here.
Yes, with all the properties I viewed this was usually 12 months. This seems to be the most common term that landlords like as it ties you down for a longer period and mitigates any downtime the landlord won’t be earning when searching for tenants.
I was lucky enough to arrange a 6-month contract with my landlord with means a review of the contract after this initial period. The downside to a lower contact is after 6 months the landlord could either kick you out or increase your rent. It depends on what you think your situation will be after 6/12 months.
I’ll be honest each landlord has his own terms and rules on what you’re allowed or not allowed to do with the property. I think it’s all about creating a good relationship with your landlord or the letting agent and going from there.
For example, we’re not allowed to have pets but the agent said if you wanted to bring a pet in for a day or 2 that shouldn’t be an issue.
This allowed my family dog to come and visit every so often which is nice. This goes for decorating as well. I had pictures I wanted to hang on the wall so I contacted the landlord and asked if it was okay. They agreed as long as I fixed the potential marks left on the wall before the tenancy ends. These days there are plenty of picture hanging tool on the market that don’t involve hammer and nails!
The cost of renting really depends on the location and property type. My property is a two bedroom flat in Didsbury so it’s definitely not the cheapest flat I could have found.
My recommendation would be to rent with a friend or partner. This massively cuts costs as you’ll be paying half the total rent of the property and splitting any bills.
Renting is right for me at the moment. 6 months is a long time and I’m happy that I’ll be able to re-evaluate what I want to do after that time. If I don’t like the location I can move, or I can see if buying is the a logical next step.
I feel renting should never be a long term goal but is a nice stepping stone when you’re unsure of where you’ll be in the short term. The freedom and flexibility to change your mind with little hassle and cost is something you just can’t get with buying.
If you are interesting in renting a property, Edward Mellor lets houses of all types and sizes throughout Manchester, Stockport and Tameside. Click here to register your interest and find your perfect rental property today!