Moving in ChecklistEverything you need for your viewings
When visiting a flat, apartment or student halls, you can sometimes get lost in the moment or excitement, and as cool as that place you just visited was…did you really find out everything you needed to know?
More often that not, I walk away from a viewing with a smile and then realise I completely forgot to ask that one important question! I’m sure I can’t be the only one forgetting the odd question or two, or sometimes not even knowing what to really ask at all.
Well, we’ve gathered all our viewing experiences together and come up with a checklist for YOU! So make sure you have your notepad or phone ready to be asking those all important questions on your next viewing.
Location, location, location.
How far from university?
You want to get to university and back as quick as possible so you have more time for the important things, like sleep or reading our Lifestyle Blog.
How far from good transport links? Night tube? Night bus?
After that late night library session, or more likely, that late night out clubbing, you want to get home as quick as possible! Is the property close to a night-tube link or a bus stop, and if so, how often do they come? Last thing you want is to wait until morning for the train while your body is barely functioning because you thought 10 tequila shots was a good idea….yes, this is from experience.
Do you feel safe?
This is a very important factor!
Do you feel safe in the area? Are the streets well lit, especially at night? Your home is your safe zone, so make sure you feel like it really can be that. A good tip is to be close to a busy main road. As much as this seems a bit reversed, the chances of an incident occurring while in the presence of others is less likely.
Have you checked crime rate?
Just feeling like the area looks safe is only half the check. Make sure you look into or ask about crime rate in the area.
How far is the closest supermarket or even closest cinema? Do you really want to be putting on your hiking boots and grabbing your passport every time you just want some Ben & Jerry’s?
Are there any construction to neighbouring buildings?
This was a big thing for me while in my 3rd year. The flat below us was having construction work done and all the dust was flowing into our flat. We constantly had to throw out food and clean.
Even if you don’t have construction works happening directly on part of the building you are in, if there are construction works taking place in the near vicinity it’s still annoying. The noise of constant drilling and sometimes un-friendly builders won’t make your experience that great at all.
Has the building got any damages to it? You ideally want to be living in a building were you can see that the Landlord has been keeping it well maintained.
This one isn’t as important but its nice to know and see that there is a difference between the public pavement and your property.
Does your property have enough bins or any at all? Last thing you want is to start piling up those black bags until the next bin collection.
**For extra brownie points, are there any recycling bins?
Who's in charge of the exterior?
Who’s job is it keep the property maintained? Make sure this is in your contract as you don’t want to be blamed for not cleaning the windows.
Do you have access to the garden?
Do you have access to the garden?
Who’s in charge of maintaining the garden? Do you really want to be mowing the law every other weekend…and do you even own a lawn mower?
Furnished or Unfurnished?
Does the place come with all the essentials, bed, couch, tables and so on…
This is the easier route and can just help you out a lot at the initial stages. Furnished! However, that being said, many people may have loads of their own essentials and don’t want to be sleeping in a bed touched by others…ewww. You might be able to knock a small price off in un-furnished but sometimes not likely as the landlord will most likely have to pay for all the furniture to be taken out and housed else were.
Its great that you found a bedroom with a triple-king size bed, but is there a bathroom, kitchen and living room?
Size of rooms?
Are the sizes of the rooms at a good level? Or have you just visited harry potters bedroom under the stairs? (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you clearly having got your priorities straight)
What's the heating like?
This is going to be a big thing in winter. Winter is coming! (Sorry couldn’t help myself)
A good tip is (with permission) to turn on the heating when you arrive and while you are walking around viewing the rest of the property to see how long it takes to turn on and also how good the system it is. Africa Hot? or just plain flat out Antarctica Cold?
What are the windows like? Will they keep the heat in (and the cold out) or can you feel a draft?
One of the worst things you can find in a house and many student house tend to have traces of it…Black Mould.
Check in the bathroom as this is were its most likely to occur due to build up of steam. If you can spot any big patches…RUN! Mould can affect your health and also it just doesn’t look nice at all. Better off looking elsewhere unless there is a guarantee that the landlord will do something about it before you move in.
**If there is mould growing around the silicon on a bathroom lining, just ask the landlord to replace as this as its easily done. Not like mould growing on walls, however.
A trick that some landlords try to get away with is using furniture to hide cracks, mould or other un-desirable features. Make sure you move furniture as it may not be a nice surprise when you’re two months into your contract.
Fridge & Freezer size?
This isn’t something people think of straight away. Is there enough space for all of you to store away your food?
electrical appliances included?
Are the electrical appliances included? Microwave, kettle, FRIDGE and so on. It’s important to know whats on offer and what on show.
EWWWW a Mouse
This can be a common thing in student housing, as the previous students who lived there probably didn’t treat the property very well.
Make sure you check for droppings and traps! Even if you don’t find any sign of pests it might be good to double check and ask the landlord.
Enough plug sockets?
Are there enough plugs in the house and even in each room so that all 500 of your gadgets can be charged overnight?
**How accessible are the plugs? Are they in awkward places to get to or do you just need to re-arranging the furniture?
What's the storage like?
Is there enough storage in each bedroom, kitchen and bathroom? Are there any extra sets of draws or cupboards were you can put away all your essentials?
Are there bills included?
If you can get any or all bills included, you might of hit a jackpot!
If you do have bills included, the chance is that your rent will be higher, but if it’s within a reasonable amount this could be very helpful as you won’t worry about having to set any utilities up.
**Don’t abuse this as it could affect relations with your landlord.
What's the water pressure like?
Ask to turn on a tap or to see what the water pressure is like. No one wants a dribble of water!
Some of the older houses have top-up meters. This means after you have used a certain amount of that utility (usually electricity), you will have to go pay for more with a special key.
This can be quite annoying as a house that I lived in previously, we would forget now and then. This will really affect you during an intense Call Of Duty match!
This is not a must, but it might be a good idea to find out who currently supplies the property its utilities. It will tell you what to expect when and if you move in.
**Don’t get to into what supplier there is currently as once you move in, you could change it if you like (do check that you able to change first).
Are there locks?!?!
Do ALL Windows and ALL External Leading Doors have locks or able to lock in some form? Your security should be a top concern and this is a MUST check item on your list.
Does the property have alarms as stated by law? Ask to check that the alarms are working and in good condition. It is un-likely that they will become of use, but better safe than sorry right?
Plug sockets in good condition?
Are all plug sockets in good working condition with no damages or cracks around them?
How did you find the landlord?
Did you find the landlord or property through a credited or certified website or advertising? You don’t want to start putting your fingers into some bad pies.
Have they rushed you?
Has the landlord rushed you at all, been mis-leading or you just don’t have a good vibe about them? You want to be sure you can trust this person as you will be handing them over a large amount of money and on top of that if a problem arises you want to be sure that they will actually help.
Landlord or sub-letting?
Are you actually talking to the Landlord or are they an agent or sub-letter. If they are a sub-letter you want to make sure that they have the right and permission to advertise the house for viewings.
What deposit scheme do they use? You probably already know as you’re so smart, but in a quick sum-up…landlords are required to place your deposit into a government deposit scheme. Last thing you want is your Landlord not giving you your deposit back because they didn’t use a scheme and you accidentally got a pen mark on that small piece of the wall.
everything in writing
Make sure everything is in writing! There’s no more to say to this…just MAKE SURE!
No we do not mean you breaking stuff…we mean when does the contract allow you to break away from the house. Are you able to leave the property early through a break clause? Make sure it is written into your contract.
What are the repair terms?
Who is in charge of paying for repairs? Make sure you have a set guideline for who will pay for a broken table or a broken boiler.
Some things are out of your control and you should not have to pay for them.
Have you asked about ALL the fees?
Have you asked and wrote down all the fees that are included? You want to make sure you know early about rent, the deposit, estate agent fees, inventory and so on. You don’t want to be hit last minute with a fee that’s just conjured itself up.
Individual or joint contract?
You want to make sure your ocntract is CLEAR.
Individual contracts mean if your bestie breaks the table or is late in paying rent, it is her fault alone and you won’t be dragged into the consequences. A joint contract means all individuals in the contract are liable for anything that may happen.
Rent. What are the weekly and monthly break downs?
Do you know what the exact rent is? It really does help to know your weekly rent break down as well as your monthly.
**If you have a part-time job, there’s a big chance that you get paid weekly, so this could help you realise if you can afford this property.
Are they happy with the property?
Asking previous tenants will be you best source of information and insight about the house. So if you get the chance GO GO GO!
Happy with the Landlord?
If you get a moment to sneak off from the landlord ask them if they are happy with the landlord. How were they with repairs and general enquiries.
How's the area?
Ask them how they liked the area and if they have any suggestions on were to go out and eat or grab a drink.
How's the heating? especially in winter.
Ask them how about the heating. Are the radiators good or are they there for show.
Why are they leaving?
This might be a bit personal but if you don’t mind asking, ask them why they are leaving or is it related to this property somehow?
Worst part about living there?
I think this should be a MUST! No matter how good the landlord and the house, there will always be a down side even if its a small issue. But its better to ask and know or is there a hidden issue that you will have to deal with such as thin walls…?
Whats your worst experience at a viewing? Comment below and let us know.