Renting your first property is an exciting step towards independence. And whether you’re moving in with friends or your partner, or going away to school, you’ll have loads of fun and learn a lot of new things. However, while it’s a really exciting part of your life, it can also be incredibly stressful. It’s probably the first time you’ve taken financial control, and having responsibility for the roof over your head can bring a number of issues.
But if you’ve signed all the paperwork, had your references checked, and your first month’s rent and deposit is paid – then it’s all plain sailing, right? Well, not quite. Before you get settled and start making your new house a home, there’s a few things you need to do.
Take as many photos as possible
When you move out, you’ll be expected to restore the property to a high standard of cleanliness. However, not all properties are given a thorough clean before new tenants move in, so if that’s the case, take photos of all the areas you’re not happy with. Likewise, if anything is broken or discoloured, take photos. This way, you can show the agent two things: firstly, that you didn’t receive a good enough welcome, and secondly, that damage existed before you moved in. While all agents accept general wear and tear on the property, it’s good to have photographic proof that you didn’t cause any damage. It’s something you’ll regret not doing when you move out, so be proactive and get snapping.
Complete the inventory
When you move in, your agent should give you an inventory. This is a detailed list of everything in the property, and should include details of the item’s condition. It should include everything from carpets to light fittings – and if it doesn’t add it in. On arrival, it’s your duty to double check the inventory against what you see in front of you. Sometimes, agents won’t update the inventory between tenants. So, damage from a previous occupier could go unnoticed. You need to be super meticulous and scrutinise the entire property for anything missed off. Don’t be afraid to make corrections either – if you’re not happy with the description of something, write down your version. This is where taking photos will really help. If you want more advice, speak to your agent, or read this detailed guide on check-in and inventory processes.
Check everything is in working order
Before you sign anything to say that you’re happy – make sure everything works! Turn on all the lights, fire up the oven, check the fridge is cold and the freezer is frozen. Blast the shower, and flush all the toilets. If everything works, then you can carry on with the rest of your inspection. If not? Get in touch with your agent as soon as possible. It’s down to them – or perhaps your landlord, depending on who maintains the property – to sort things like this. They’ll usually source a sub zero refrigerator repair company, or different depending on what’s broken, to come out to fix it. You’ll need to work together to find a time and date that suits, as often you’ll need to be home when the repair company comes.
Get the house up to your standard of cleanliness
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/themobix/3464772611/
Sometimes, like mentioned above, your new property won’t be cleaned the way you like it. So, before you start unpacking, give the place a thorough clean. It’s much easier to get big items like carpets and surfaces done before there’s anything on them. We wrote a post not that long ago about the best way to clean and sort your kitchen – take a read of it here for some good ideas for your new home.
Sort through all your belongings
Before you unpack, take this time to sort through all your possessions. Moving into a new home is the perfect opportunity to have declutter, and only take with you what you need. You’ll need to be ruthless – but when you’re filling a new house, this is easy. Think to yourself: do you really want this in your new home? If you’re not sure, and you’re able to leave it at the house you left, then do that. Then, in six months or so, if you still haven’t used it or worn it – you’ve got your answer! Here’s ten ways to help you declutter your life – or let us know if you have any other fab hacks.
Find a safe place for important documents
Now, this might take a back seat until everything is unpacked. And once everything has a home, you need to find a safe place for all your important documents – from the rental contract to your bills. Keeping everything in one place will make it far less stressful when you need to reference anything. Until you’ve got this safe place ready, keep all these important bits and pieces out of the house and away from any rubbish bags! You might find that a designated folder or filing cabinet suits your needs best, or check out this article for some tips on how to organise your documents well.