Check out the exterior
Your main focus may be on the inside of the property but viewing the exterior is a real give away when deciding how well maintained the property is. You want to be looking for somewhere that is well cared for by the landlord. So, check for paint peeling, cracked windows or rotting windowsills and frames, an overgrown garden. These are all signs that profit comes first. Also look at communal stairwells, hallways and landings and find out who is responsible for their upkeep.
Check out the interior
Is the property well maintained? It’s quite easy to tell if it is, it should smell fresh, look immaculate and feel comfortable to be in. Regardless of the cost of the rent, avoid anywhere with mould or damp as it could affect your health in the long term. Be aware of damp spots, black spores, peeling wallpaper, condensation on the windows or a generally musty smell.
Test out the fixtures
Have a walk around and make sure the lights work, the windows open, the taps work and the water pressure from them is good and that the toilet flushes. Find out how the heating and hot water works and check out how many plug sockets are in each room and where. If a property has exposed or frayed wires, black marks around sockets and lots of extension leads, rule it out.
Look at the storage
It’s vital that the place you’re moving into has enough space for your belongings. Do you have any big, bulky items you need to accommodate? Do you have sports equipment you will need to store? Make sure any storage can fit all that in.
How’s the décor?
Most rented properties tend to be decorated in inoffensive neutral tones to suit everyone’s taste. If however, the colour scheme is bright or colourful, ask yourself if that is something you could live with every day. Bright colours and statement walls can seem fun at first but can quickly become tiresome to live with. Also look at the condition of floors and carpets, are they threadbare, stained or torn? If so, see if the landlord would be willing to replace them if you took the property.
Always put your safety first
Gas safety checks and boiler maintenance is no joke, so ask to see safety certificates and make sure it’s not been over a year since being checked. Look out for smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms and ask if you can test them there and then.
Listen out for noise
Whilst in the property keep an ear out for traffic noise, airplanes and trains. Can you put up with these noise levels. Listen out for neighbours, can you hear them talking, walking around? Double glazing will help mask a lot of the outside noise but can’t do much about noise from neighbours above or below.
Look at the property’s security
Is the front door sturdy? Are the locks secure? Do the windows and back doors lock? Is there a security light outside? Then think about how you would feel being in the property alone, do you feel safe and secure whilst inside the property? These are all important questions to ask yourself.
Have you got good signal?
There’s nothing worse than living somewhere that you can’t make a call. It really can be make or break. So, check your phone in each room you enter to make sure you have good signal throughout and there are no dead zones.
Do you like the neighbourhood?
A daytime viewing can be deceiving. If you like the property, return to the street at night and see if it changes. Make sure it’s somewhere you’d be happy to live and that you’d feel safe coming home at night. It’s also a good idea to look at parking, where will people park when they visit, is there enough parking for you?
Take a second look
The first viewing can cause you to lead with your heart. So, if you like a place, arrange for a second viewing and check anything you missed the first time. When going into a property for a second time, you know what to expect so it allows you to look deeper into potential issues. Have your second viewing at a different time like after working hours so you can assess the sound of neighbours when most people are home.
As long as you keep your eyes peeled and your ears open, you should be able to assess a property well and make sure it suits your needs. Your heart has to be in your decision but it’s always a good idea to consult your head from time to time too. Don’t be scared to ask questions and don’t accept anything that doesn’t meet your standards.
Why are you looking to move? If you need help giving your current landlord notice, use our handy notice to quit form. Do you have problems with your old landlord or were they awesome? Either way, we want to hear it all. Review your landlord today and become a part of the rental revolution, we’re all about giving tenants a voice and we can’t wait to hear yours. You can also view our review map here.