So you’re thinking of moving out and becoming a first time renter – congrats! This is such a milestone in your life and such an important step in any adults life. But things can get a bit confusing and you may feel a little bit overwhelmed, so I’m going to try and make everything feel a little bit more straight-forward.
Before I moved out, I had planned and set a timeline for everything. The only thing we hadn’t planned was the actual date we would find a flat and eventually move into it, this isn’t something you can plan really, but everything else? I couldn’t resist; I made lists, mood boards and saved like hell.
Save your money
Moving out is one of the most expensive things you could plan on doing. You’re going to need a couple thousand pounds saved up because of the cost of furniture, security deposits and your actual deposit. In my case we had saved enough so that we could buy my furniture without going into credit on anything and pay for my security deposit and final deposit. The security deposit was around £132 and I had to pay it on the day that I viewed the flat, otherwise I’d walk out and potentially see it get rented to someone else. So it was a quick decision and I paid my part there and then. The final deposit was over £1,000 which as you know is a lot of money – but it’s a necessary payment and there’s no avoiding it. You do get this money back at the end of your tenancy if you’ve left the rented property in good condition and obeyed your tenancy agreement.
2. Establish if you’ll need a guarantor
In order to rent you need to be earning a certain % of your rent, this get’s calculated by the estate agent and if you fall below the amount, you’ll need a guarantor. In my case, my salary needed to be three times the cost of my rent, which I do earn, so I didn’t need a guarantor. Your guarantor is important though, this person must earn enough to pay for your rent if you ever miss it and they must have a clean credit score and references. In my case, I was able to get my flat without needing a guarantor which was a massive relief, but I had asked my dad if he’d consider being my guarantor to which he agreed due to the fact I’d already proven myself to be reliable with making payments in the past on my credit and bills prior to moving out. So make sure you ask somebody reliable who knows how reliable you are, too!
3. Become familiar with what you need to pay
Here’s a quick list of a few things you’ll be paying for
- Bills – water, energy, broadband
- Council tax
- TV License*
- Window Cleaners*
So rent, bills and council tax go without saying. Sorry reader, there’s no avoiding these payments! However you may be wondering about your TV License and window cleaner, as well as other services you may need.
In my case I don’t pay for a TV License because we pay for streaming services and felt like it was unnecessary for us since we personally don’t watch live TV. However if you’re somebody that watches a lot of ITV and BBC then you’re going to need to pay for your TV License, it’s against the law to avoid paying it and continue to watch it and you can face a hefty fine and even a trial in court.
As far as things like window cleaners go, I included this because it’s something you don’t need but do find yourself wanting. My windows were a bit grim and I did my very best to clean them but found that it was hard to clean the outside windows since we can’t literally step outside and do it, so I hired a cleaner to come and do it for us. I just went on Google and searched for a local service, got a quote and then we were sorted. They come monthly and it’s such a chore off my back, so you’ll need to establish if these are things you’re willing to pay for as well; I definitely view paying for a window cleaner as a luxury though, but it’s a bill nonetheless.
You may also find that you want to pay for a service which cleans your wheelie bins and I’ve seen people have gardeners and whatnot in my area, we don’t have either of these but you may want to – it’s all worth looking into and getting quoted for.
4. Make a budget plan and mark your bill dates
So when you’re renting, you’re also paying bills and council tax. Depending on where you live your council tax cost varies, in most areas you pay over £100 a month towards your council tax and your bills also vary. So, get on excel and create a budgeting plan. See how much you’re going to spend per month on rent, bills and council tax and then fill in the dates you intend on doing grocery shopping and make personal payments such as towards your TV license, subscriptions and credit cards. By the time you’ve established how much you need to spend per month on your needs you’ll know how much money you have left over to treat yourself with or go out with.
5. Make sensible choices
My idea of a sensible choice is:
- Spend at least a year saving and purchasing
- Don’t pay too expensive where you don’t need to
- Stay local to your area
- Aim to save a certain amount
Spending a year saving and purchasing
I did it this way because I felt it was the best option, I had decided 2019 would be the year that I finally made the move and got my own flat even though things were fairly uncertain for such a long time, so I spent the year buying my needs. I made a checklist on my phone of things that I need and then a list for things that I want.
The needs were basics such as cutlery, crockery, glasses and mugs – those kinds of things, and the wants were luxuries such as a TV and playstation. By the time that I was placing the deposits down I had my entire kitchen and both bathrooms packed underneath my bed, every time I opened my wardrobe I was facing my toaster and my hoover was neatly boxed in the corner of my bedroom – it got messy so expect that, the last month of living with my parents I was living in a stressful environment due to all of the boxes and mess. I couldn’t wait to move it all!
Don’t pay too expensive where you don’t need to
This is so important. When you’re moving in for the first few weeks, you buy more anyway. So keep it cheap and simple for the acquiring process. It was only when I had moved in when I was buying storage boxes and door signs because I didn’t need them and it’s an expense you don’t need. Also, don’t pay £50 for a set of glasses when you know you can get them cheaper anywhere else. You’re just putting a huge unnecessary dent on your savings.
Stay local to your area
This is something that I feel like can be bent a bit, but I stayed local to my area because I wanted to be by my family, and I’m only a 20 minute walk away from everyone. I live really local and perfectly placed near everything and this was very important to me when I was looking, I didn’t want to live anywhere over a 30 minute walk from my parents house – I don’t drive and honestly, I wanted it to be convenient for everyone else too. If you feel differently or you can drive, this obviously isn’t as much as an issue for you as it was for me.
Aim to save a certain amount
I don’t want to publicly state how much that I had saved but it was a couple grand, it was amazing how fast the savings dwindled though after buying furniture, paying deposits and my first month of rent, but it was really helpful for the first 2 months to know that I had savings to rely on. Put away a small portion of your wage per month and cut back on making unnecessary payments – I used to do a weekly snack run when I lived at home which I stopped doing whilst saving my own money, it was only around £10 a week but that adds up to £40 a month which is £480 a year, a massive saving really.
I don’t want to tell you to aim a certain amount because our wages and lifestyles will differ, but save so that you can still live within your means and be realistic.
Once you’ve found a place, made your payments and are moving in…
Make sure you read your tenancy agreement thoroughly
Can’t stress enough how important this is. PLEASE make sure you read your tenancy agreement thoroughly multiple times, I read mine over and over before signing it and read it over and over even days before I was moving into the flat. It’s so important to know what your rights are and know where you stand.
Most landlords won’t let you drill holes into walls or paint, plaster or put up new wallpaper. This is just how it is and I can understand why if I’m being honest. Luckily for me, my landlord is amazing, I asked before I had signed the agreement if I was okay to redecorate, to which he said it was fine, and he’s visited me a few times since I’ve moved in and is fine with things that I’ve hung on the walls, he’s an amazing landlord and I really am very lucky, but not all are like this and so it’s so important to be careful, to read the agreement properly and to ask your landlord for permission if there’s anything you want to do – if the answer is no, respect it because at the end of your tenancy, you’ll lose money where you just went ahead and drilled or painted.
Make sure your delivery dates align with your move-in date
I was actually set to move in 2 days later than I actually did, so because of this I ended up scheduling everything for way later than when I actually was living in the flat. I moved my stuff in on the Saturday when I was supposed to have done this on the Monday, so I waited the weekend before having a sofa, which arrived on the Monday, and my Sky man came and fit in my WiFi before the sofa arrived – I looked super fresh to my flat and it was really cute. After the sofa arrived my washing machine arrived about 10 mins later and my fridge came on the Tuesday, but for all this time I was wishing that I knew I’d be moving in earlier to save the waiting! I slept on the sofa the day it arrived because my mattress wasn’t coming until the day later, but I couldn’t be bothered to walk back to my mums house and my living room was basically complete so I just snuggled up on the sofa and slept there. But I was so happy, I’d moved in!
Clean.Clean.Clean on the move in day
This is the most important thing. In my case the flat needed a real deep clean because it’d been empty for months according to my landlord and honestly I don’t think the previous tenants looked after it much either, so I deep cleaned for the first day and then re-organised all of my things into their new home, there were boxes everywhere for the weekend but my dad came over and took any cardboard boxes to be recycled and my plastic containers which I’d been storing things in, I found new uses for, such as packing my Summer clothes away, filling with Christmas decorations and I even named one my sentimental box, it’s full of photo albums and celebratory cards. For the first few weeks you will find that you acquire a lot of rubbish because of unboxing things and that’s only normal, it’ll take a few weeks for this to no longer be the case.
Become familiar with your bin days
Before I moved in I went on my councils website and searched for my bin collection days, this is definitely important in the first few weeks due to the amount of rubbish you’re going to collect, it helps you establish if things are going in the bin or if you should make a trip to the tip instead.
…and then throw a home warming party!
Once everything is cleaned, has a home and has been delivered, once the cardboard boxes are a thing of the past and once you’re settled, throw your home warming party! I threw mine a month after I had moved in, by this point I was settled and was feeling eager to have everyone over. Since then I’ve also hosted New Years Eve, you’ll probably find that social gatherings and parties become a regular thing, but make sure that you respect the hours listed in your tenancy agreement for when it’s time to quiet down. Don’t want any noise complaints!