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In This Guide

Choosing an area

   1. Introduction

   2. Transport

   3. Crime

   4. Amenities

   5. Landscape

   6. Neighbours

   7. Check it out

Getting in


Lettings agents


Looking for property

Renting introduction

Tenancy agreements

Viewing property

Choosing an area

Check it out

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It may not be possible for you to visit an area until it is time to start looking for somewhere to rent, especially if you are relocating some distance from where you live now. But the very least you can do is your homework on the area, especially as so many web sites make it easy to do on the Internet.

If you can go and look around a place then some simple preparation can help ensure that your trip is worthwhile. Here is our advice for deciding whether you like an area:

  • Make a list of the most important factors that you want your chosen area to have, then see how the place matches up.

  • If you are renting with your partner, make sure you both go - people can have very different gut reactions to a place.

  • Go in the daytime.

  • Go at night to compare.

  • Walk round as much as you can - some very small areas can be quite diverse, especially in British cities.

  • Why not take some photos - these can be used to directly compare two areas later on.

  • Try and imagine what it will be like in the different seasons - appearances can change quite dramatically around the year.

  • See if you can spot many For Sale signs - if there are a lot of them on anything but a new development, this can be a bad sign. Why is everyone leaving?

  • Similarly, take note of the apparent state of local businesses - are they run down, or does it appear that investment is coming into the area?

  • Look at the types of housing, especially if you have your heart set on a certain type of building. This can be a reality check - it may be time to admit that finding a thatched cottage to rent in the middle of a city is a bit unlikely.

  • Sample the atmosphere - have a drink in one or two of the local pubs or try out a restaurant.

After the background research and one or two visits, you should have a clear idea of whether you would be happy to live in an area. If so and you know what type of property you are after, then it is time top start the search in earnest.

If something feels wrong, and your gut feeling says no, then it's back to the drawing board, but at least you found out before you wasted too much time searching for property.

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