"Finding a first home together is an exciting time for any couple but it's important that you do your research carefully and find the right home for you It's easy to get carried away with the moment but it's essential to take your time
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the experts at Belvoir reveal their top tips for couples searching for their first rental home together...
“Moving in together for the first time is a big step and many couples who aren’t quite ready to commit to buying a house together just yet find renting provides the perfect solution,” says co-owner of Belvoir Liverpool Central and Belvoir Liverpool West Derby Adam Rastall. “Renting allows a trial run of running a home together without the long-term commitment of the buying and selling process and gives each the ability to access their suitability to co-inhabit.
“For some, it’s also a practical financial solution as many young couples struggle to take those first steps on the property ladder due to rising house prices and the large deposits needed.”
So now you’ve started the search to find your first home together, which property will hold the key to your heart?
Starting the search
“Finding a first home together is an exciting time for any couple but it’s important that you do your research carefully and find the right home for you,” says co-owner of Belvoir Liverpool Central and Belvoir Liverpool West Derby Paul Rice. “It’s easy to get carried away with the moment but it’s essential to take your time and identify what will best suit both of your needs.
“In the first instance you should chat it through together, perhaps making a wish-list with each adding items that are essential to them. Perhaps, one of you would like a spare room to use as a study? Maybe the other needs extra space for when family come to stay? Do you want a furnished or unfurnished property?
“Also, iron out any niggles or conflicting needs before you start your search. For example, one may love gardening and want a large outdoor space, while the other may want something simple and low maintenance. It’s important that you agree on what it is you’re looking for at the early stages – and what compromises you’re both willing to make – before wasting time viewing properties that simply could not work for you as a couple.”
“Another thing to take into account is location,” says Adam. “It’s surprising how many couples will arrive for a viewing and then one of them says ‘it’s not for me because the commute to work is too long’.
“Before starting your search, discuss what location priorities you both have. As well as looking at the location of both of your work places there are other things to consider too. Do you want to live in a quiet remote area or do you want nightlife and amenities on your doorstep? Plus, how far away do you want to be from family and friends? Also, are you thinking of a long-term rental but have plans to start a family? If so, good nearby nurseries and schools may be on your list.
“It’s important to ask yourselves these vital location questions in order to narrow down your search area before you begin.”
Figure out finances
“Before committing to a property it’s important that you understand your joint finances and what you can comfortably afford as a couple,” says Paul.
“Work out your disposable income. This will involve looking at your individual incomings and outgoings and will require complete transparency from both parties. Do you have gym memberships to consider? Monthly mobile phone tariffs? Or perhaps credit card payment commitments?
“You will also need to take into account that you will need a deposit for the rental property, plus potential letting agent fees too.
“When you know what you can afford you can start your search. Committing to a property you can’t afford will inevitably cause issues later down the line and will not be a good start to your lives together.”
“Once you’ve narrowed down your search area, know what you can afford and what you jointly need from a property you can start booking some viewings,” says Adam.
“It’s important that you book these at a time which is suitable for you both. I wouldn’t advise either party committing to a rental property without the other one seeing it too. Both of you will be living there and it’s important that you’re both part of the decision making process. The market is very buoyant and good rental properties are snapped up fast so one of you visiting the property with the hope of booking a second viewing for the other can sometimes lead to disappointment.
“I would also advise that you try and visit the area where the property is located at different times of the day and on different days of the week in order to access how it changes and the ease of parking.”
Tenancy for two
“Once you’ve found your perfect property and you’re ready to sign on the dotted line both of you will be subjected to referencing and credit checks individually,” says Paul. “Then a joint tenancy agreement will be arranged.”
Adam adds, “If you need further help, ask your local letting agent for advice. That’s what we’re here for. We have helped hundreds of couples find their first home together and will be more than happy to help you find yours...”