(It’s difficult to take a nice photo when you’re being blinded by the sun)
Working out what you can afford each month is the biggest thing you need to work out before even start looking for your new home! It’s not just making sure you can pay your rent. You also have to budget for your weekly food shops, how much you think you’ll pay for your gas, electric and water bills plus you have council tax to pay. This will vary if you’re renting a house or a flat so you will have to find that information out on your own. Just search for your council district and their pages can guide you through the rest.
When we started thinking about renting a house together, I went a little OTT with the planning aspect. I was looking up the average water bills for two people, roughly figured out how much we’d need to top up the gas and electric key and researched council tax and what the bands mean. I found forums most helpful for figuring out your possible water bills as they were real life people replying instead of someone from Wessex Water! We are very low users of water so our bills aren’t too bad, averages out as roughly £60 per 6 months each which is great! You can choose a price plan so you can pay monthly, every 6 months or the whole lot in one go. For us, it’s easier to just pay it every 6 months because we know we won’t have a heart-stopping bill!
As for gas and electric that all depends on which provider you go with and how much you use. We are with Spark for both our gas and electric and we tend to put £40 on each and that covers us for the month with some left over! As we are gamers we use a lot of electricity.. Like I said in a previous post we have our tv’s side by side in our front room so we can play online games together on the Xbox, so if you’re going to be out most of the day or you just prefer reading books over watching tv then you could probably live on less a month! We only use gas in the winter for heating or if we want to have a bath instead of a shower which is electric.
You must also remember that it’s not all about paying your bills and making sure you can feed yourself, you also have to have some money aside for you so you can still have little shopping sprees and go out for drinks with friends! I strongly advise that if you think you’ll be just getting by each month, then you should wait until you can save enough money that’ll cushion you if you get any unexpected expenses!
Deciding where to live & property viewings
Deciding where you want to live is just as important as making sure you can afford it! Make sure you research the towns, cities or villages you’d like to live and try to keep your radius open unless you are anchored by work We decided Taunton straight away as it was closer to Toby’s work and to be fair, I wanted to get out of my hometown! We moved a little under 30 minutes from our parents so if we need to get home quickly it’ll take minutes rather than hours.
Next step is the house/flat hunting! Again I went a little OTT here as I found a few houses that were perfect for us, we found when trying to arrange viewings a lot of the properties had already gone but they have to still display the property until the keys have been handed over and the documents have been signed. So make sure you prepare for disappointment, your dream home may just be someone else’s too!
We viewed a grand total of five houses before viewing the house we are currently living in. Pictures can be so deceiving, pretty much all the houses we viewed were much smaller than the pictures appeared. Estate agents are crafty with their photography skills so don’t have too high expectations the second you want through that door. Most importantly do not settle for the first property you view! New properties are being added every day, I think it’s good to wait for a little while to see what’s about before you start practising your signature!
Found your new home.. Now what?
Getting the property butterflies when you’ve found the one is amazing! You start to picture yourself living there, where your furniture will go and maybe things you could improve if your new landlord is okay with you sprucing the place up! So when you’ve made sure you can live comfortably and the property has everything you want (parking spaces, garden etc) then I think you’re ready to go for it! The beginning process of renting a property is a giant pain in the ass in my opinion. You have to provide your identity information, income and most importantly throw a huge wad of money on the table! You have to pay your deposit, any estate agent fees and a month’s rent upfront. Now not all renting procedures are the same but like I said I am talking about my experience with renting through Connells. Apparently, estate agents aren’t going to be allowed to charge such huge fees when renting a property out later this year so that may be a thing to keep in mind if you’re thinking of moving out anytime soon.
Packing up and moving out
I found packing up my old bedroom at my parent’s house very strange, my room looked huge because everything was boxed up sat in the conservatory waiting for moving day. When packing up your room I’d advise having a suitcase or box with anything in that you will need immediately such as a change of clothes, toiletries and any other daily essentials so you don’t have to go rummaging through boxes to find your everyday bits and bobs. Also, have a refreshment box and make sure that is one of the first boxes in the house especially if you have friends or family helping you move in. Make sure this box has snacks, tea bags, coffee (don’t forget the kettle), soft drinks and maybe even the champagne to keep everyone going.
I hope this post was helpful to anyone who is thinking about movin out and if you’d like me to write a post about first home essentials then comment below.