Renting. It's freaking me out a little.
February 28, 2013 8:34 AM Subscribe
After years living in flatshares, MrMippy and I are moving in together. That part's fine - it's dealing with estate agencies and huge sums of cash that scares me. Help me calm down about it so I can think about how to furnish our flat in peace! (We are in London.)
posted by mippy to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Like most people our age living in London, we are renting, and probably will be for a very long time (unless I happen to find a Monet in a charity shop), so any flat we are renting needs to be a happy and comfortable home. This means that we are looking for a flat via lettings agencies (more than one person has told me not to touch Gumtree with a long greasy pole and only go through an ARLA-registered agent which will use the deposit scheme etc, which is what we are doing.)
Here's what's making me panic a little:
- rather than the £500 or so deposit and first months' rent for a flatshare as I've been paying since 2005, I'm going to have to give them six weeks' deposit, a month's rent and associated costs for fees (sadly, unlike Scotland, they get to charge us for referencing, 'check out' and the contract, which adds up to about a week's rent). The money is ready to go, but it's more money than I've ever spent on something in my life. As in, we could probably buy a used car (and presumably live in it) with this kind of money, even with the area we are looking in being very cheap for London. This makes me feel certain something is going to go horribly wrong. And if we don't like it? We'll need to have that handy again before we can move.
- MrMippy is a lodger, but his landlord's girlfriend is moving in, so while a notice period is given, there could be a little flexibility. I am also a lodger, but my landlord will want to let the room as close to when I move out as possible- so once my month's notice is given, I'm leaving. Is it wise to give notice once your initial deposit is paid, or only once the referencing/checks have gone through? (There's no reason why we shouldn't pass, but I have seen many stories of people being asked for a guarantor regardless of income, or a month's advance rent being raised to two because there's something they don't like in the referencing process.) I can't really pay two rents at once.
- Agencies so far have been astonishingly unprofessional. I've had people deny that appointments have been made, try and get me to agree to a 10 minute slot to view a flat alongside other people, tell me I need to make an earlier appointment as 'someone is very interested already', and in one case, reply to my polite enquiry e-mail with something that looks like a 12yr old's text message. Basically, they're not doing a very good job of trying to convince us to give them money. I also have a very low tolerance for being patronised by people less intelligent or competent than myself - my job involves challenging claims and working out when people are clearly hiding the truth - so it's going to be hard to remain polite as one should. Can agents generally be expected to be awful, and is agent behaviour always a good indication fo how the flat will turn out? (In fairness, one place we are seeing on Saturday had a very pleasant person dealing with me, which is positive.)
- Flats seem to go within days of being advertised, and several I've enquired about have already been let despite being up on RightMove/Zoopla. Despite me being pretty desperate to move out of where I live, we don't want to rush into anything. How much time can we expect to take to think things over?
- What if the walls are made of fondant icing and melt in the rain? What if it all goes horribly wrong and the boiler breaks?
If you have any tips for furnishing a flat from scratch as well - as in, any products which hit the sweet spot between budget and durability - then this is welcome.