This April I would have lived in Leeds for five years. I’ve only lived in two flats since moving, but I’ve loved living in both of them. If you’ve picked up on my language, you’ll notice that I’m speaking in the past tense. Because… WE’RE MOVING! Years of city centre flat hunting and we’re giving it all up. We’re not just moving from one city flat to another. We’re moving completely away from the city centre and into a proper house in a small town just on the outskirts. It’s going to have stairs. And a proper front door.
The excitement levels are incredibly high right now.
The house itself is so cute and quaint and the landlord has been ever so kind to let us decorate it also to our taste. So the warning is out there now, you’re going to be seeing A LOT of before and after posts coming up.
Ready for a fresh start?
There’s an art to choosing a place to live and I feel that over the years I definitely have it down to a fine art. From researching the areas to see the flat itself. I’ve got it done to a fine art and have the perfect flat hunting checklist. This is the mental and physical (electronic) list that I always have with me when I’m looking for my potential new home. This list is not just for flats, you can use it for researching a multiple of homes to rent. Ready to go city centre flat hunting?
Before your viewing
- Figure out where you want to live. Sure you’ve decided on the city, but what about the neighbourhood you want to live in? Leeds is a huge city and each area has a hub- filled with different amenities. Do you want shops, restaurants and bars nearby or are you okay with being away from it all? Our new homes as the perfect balance of being in a lovely town that has a few restaurants and pubs, but also not that far at all to travel into Leeds city centre. What area suits your lifestyle?
- Check your travel-times. Transport is a huge factor. In Leeds, you don’t really have to think about it transport, but to where we’re moving- it’s not that easy without a car (fingers crossed we’ll have one soon!) How far is the train station from your home? Is there a regular bus service? One thing I did was test the travel time from home to work to get a sense of how my mornings would be from now on. Double check everything before committing to the property.
- Can you actually afford it? This is a huge one, as there’s no point in seeing a gorgeous apartment only to find out you couldn’t afford it. It’s not just the actual rent you have to take into consideration. There’s council tax (such a bugger), bills, transport cost, etc. Anything you can save on rent is a huge plus. Does this home fit in with your monthly spending? If no, there’s no point in upsetting yourself and going to see it.
During the viewing
- Furnished or unfurnished? If going furnished, ensure you get a list of everything included in the property. Is it enough? Do you need to buy anything extra? Also, check the condition of the furniture. Is there a bit of cosmetic damage or is it beyond repair? This is worth speaking to the landlord/ letting agent about, they should be willing to repair/ replace before you move in. If going furnished, do you have the money? There’s a lot of money going out when you first move in, so can you do with a few pieces and build your collection little by little?
- Is it big enough? Never be afraid to bring a tape measure with you on a viewing. If you’ve got a particularly large sofa, make a note of the size and get measuring during your viewing. There’s no point going for somewhere only to find you can’t actually fit anything in.
- Look at the building as a whole. What facilities does it have? Is there a lift or are you going to have to climb six flights of stair every day? Is it secure? I’m lucky that my current home is part of a complex that has security but my new place is a home on a street. I know that it comes with a security alarm- a major factor for me. Also, try and get an evening booking where you can- preferably on a Thursday or Friday. How much noise can you hear? Is the building/ area full of students that are not going to fit in with your 9-5 life and 10 pm bedtime? These things mean a lot when it comes to getting your beauty sleep.
- Think about the cost of running the home. Does it have electric heaters (the devil)? How tall are the ceilings? In larger properties, it’s going to take a lot heat your home- which will be a huge dent in your monthly bills. Double glazing doesn’t just keep the nose away- it keeps your place nice and toasty.
After the viewing
- Is the place right for you? Have you asked yourself enough questions to ensure this is your perfect home for however long you need it? Ensure you’re asking yourself enough questions; the more the better. If you have an answer for everyone you should be pretty confident that this is the perfect place for you.
- How long do you want the property for? What’s the minimum time you can have the property for? Is your landlord willing to be flexible enough to allow you to have a rolling contract if you’re in between places? Don’t be afraid to ask these questions before you sign on the dotted line.
- Is the property available for when you need it for? Huge factor if you’ve got to time it with when your own tenancy ends. Have you given yourself enough time to pack, move, clean and check out? Time is money. No one wants their landlord getting their hands on your security deposit. So plan your time wisely.
- Get dreaming! Once you’ve got your references in order and you know you’re moving- have fun with decorating! Plan the look and style of your home. Dream of cushions! It’s a great opportunity to unleash your creativity and have fun.
When are you moving?
Let me know if you have any tips for city centre flat hunting. If you have any questions, do let me know- I’m happy to help where I can! You’ll also be able to follow my moving process over the next couple of weeks on Instagram & Twitter. Happy house hunting guys!