Your guide to a successful house viewing
For students who have now been at university for a whole term, exciting times lie ahead. You've just settled in to living away from home, learnt your way around a new city, and thoroughly enjoyed the perks of being a fresher! Finally the time has come to take on even more responsibilities and work out where you’re going to live when your time in university halls is up. We are experts at helping you find your new home, but it's a good idea to come to us with the right questions to make sure you end up with a house that fits all your needs for the rest of your time at university.
We've put together an overview of some of the most asked and most important questions that will help you as a first time renter have a clear understanding of every property you visit.
First things first
To get the ball rolling have a look at our area guides to decide the location you’ll be looking in, then give us an e-mail with the details of this, and a rough description of what you’re looking for, e.g. how many bedrooms, price range…
Have a good look at the building
It’s said to be wrong to judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to properties, your eyes are your most important tool. Have a look for any damage to the house in the walls, gutters, roof, etc.
Don’t be scared to contact us about them, as the letting advisor will be able to give you the options for what the landlord can change. You will either be able to ask for any damage to be fixed before you move in, or if there is nothing crucially wrong, you can make a note to mention any minor damage in your inventory, to prevent being charged for repairs later.
This should also be done with the interior of the house, if furniture needs replacing or rooms could do with a good clean and re-decoration, discuss the possibilities with us.
Check everything works!
While exploring the property, there are a few simple checks you can make to see if the house is in good working order. Turning on taps and flushing the toilet to make sure the plumbing works properly, especially checking that the hot taps produce hot water! Have a look at windows and doors to ensure they lock and that the property is secure.
Finally have a quick look round and check if there is enough storage space for you and your housemates. Are there enough sockets in each room? Is there sufficient furniture for your needs or does most of the furniture belong to current tenants and unlikely to be left behind?
Find out about the location
It’s useful to ask for information regarding local transport links and the nearest amenities. If you decide you like the property, it’s a good idea to test the walking distance to shops or university yourself. It’s useful to live near a small supermarket, your doctor’s surgery, university, etc. Sit down with your housemates and map it out to check you’re in a location that works for everyone.
Places to park?
If you’ve decided to bring a car to university next year, enquire about parking restrictions. You may get lucky and have a range of free parking spaces right on your doorstep, but many Cardiff streets require permits, with a hefty fine if you don’t display one.
Speak to current tenants
Whilst you’re viewing the house, current tenants may be about and are probably your best source of information. Ask about average cost of bills for the house, what the neighbours and area are like and any problems they have experienced whilst living there. If you are being shown round by a letting agent and not the landlord, you may also wish to ask what the landlord is like and how helpful they have been with maintenance issues.
The money part…
It’s very easy to get carried away with the fun of your house hunt, but bear in mind what you can afford, and what you will be able to afford on a student budget for the next year or two.
You will have to pay an agency fee and a bond before you pay for your first month of rent. The bond is usually around a month’s rent and is kept through a safe scheme until you move out, to cover for any damage you may cause to the property. This does seem like a lot of money to fork out, but if you keep your house in good condition, you’ll get your full bond paid back to you at the end of the tenancy.
Also be prepared to pay half or three quarters rent over the summer. This is standard procedure to keep your house reserved over the holidays. Dependant on any work that needs to be done to the house over summer, you can normally ask to pay full rent for those months and move in at the beginning of July.
For any other questions you may have about the viewing process, we at Capital are happy to help. You can contact us by phone, email, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or if you prefer you can drop by our office on Cathays Terrace!