Renting a home can be an exciting step. Whether you’re looking to downsize or move into a fresh area, renting gives you versatility and independence. However, there can be a lot of unanswered questions and sometimes it can feel overwhelming or perhaps a tad scary.

There’s too much to remember during your visit a property, but our guide for renters means you’ll really know what to consider and the questions to ask at every stage.

There are a few things that you need to consider before you begin looking for a new rental property. For instance how long would you like the tenancy for? Generally, tenancies are between six months to seven years long.

Checking finances
Before you begin house hunting, workout how much you are able each month.

The common monthly cost of rent is 35% of your regular wage, but be sure you cover amenities like gas, electricity and water, phone and online connections, TV licence and council tax (if you’re not really a student).

Remember to put enough aside for food, household items and every other regular outgoings. You may also need to pay a deposit, this will be only five weeks’ rent due to an alteration in the law.

Listing what’s important
Draw up a list of the non-negotiables you will need from your brand-new home.

Is parking important?
Do you have any pets?
Just how many bedrooms do you will need?
Have you been taking furniture together with you?
After listing the essential things, prioritise what else you’re looking for in a rental property. Other factors such as storage, outdoor spaces and the speed of local broadband connections can also be important.

Once you’ve your list, the letting agent should be able to clarify anything that’s not yet determined with a house.

Choosing a reliable letting agent
Make sure you find a responsible and knowledgeable letting agent to aid in your search. Look for local advice and test the agent’s understanding of the area. Just how many properties do they rent at the moment? Just how long have they been in the area?

Use our find an expert tool to find your neighborhood property agent.

Choosing your housemates
If you’re sharing a home, you’ll be getting into a legal agreement as a group, so it’s important that you choose people you feel will positively contribute towards a household.

You may be coping with the house for quite a while and it’s not unusual to disagree when sharing an area, so make sure you understand how your lifestyles will continue to work around each other. Ask the letting agent if they’ve received good references for all tenants.

If you are going to be living with housemates you will probably find this useful guide on surviving in a residence share useful.

Finding the right location
Once you’ve pinpointed a location, browse the local transport links, particularly if you have an everyday commute. Work out how long your journey will need and the cost, particularly if you’re counting on public transport.

Get yourself a feel for the region and discover where amenities such as supermarkets can be found. Ask current tenants if neighbours have caused any issues. The letting agent should also have the ability to answer questions about the neighborhood area.

Viewing properties
Draft a shortlist and view them. Whilst you’re at the properties, determine whether they’re safe. All landlords are legally required to complete an gross annual gas safety check, so ask the agent for the Gas Safety certificate. Note the carbon monoxide and smoke alarms, although regulations in this field differs in England, Scotland and Wales.

Landlords are legally required to be sure electrical systems and appliances are safe, so check to see whether appliances have a PAT (portable appliance test) sticker on plugs. Consider any signs of leaks or damp and check furniture is good order. Either the landlord or a managing agent is usually accountable for the general fabric of the house along with maintenance of any communal areas but make sure you check the facts on your contract so as to report any concerns promptly.