Slater & Gordon Solicitors recently shared an infographic with me. It brought back a bit of nostalgia and reaffirmed my belief that it’s important to find law companies and agencies that know what they’re talking about when you’re looking at buying or renting a place to live. There’s just so many things that you don’t know about before you go through the process. It’s important to use experts in the field to help you go over all those contracts and fine prints to take away some of the stress.
When I moved house last summer, It wasn’t an easy task. I’ve moved house many times since I left home. In the past 6 years, I’ve lived at 4 different places – this isn’t including my time at uni, when I lived in 2 student halls, a boarding school in France and a student house. This was the first time I was moving alone, though. So I had the sole responsibility of being in contact with the tenancy agency as well as sorting things out with bills etc.
The agency that my new flat was under were brilliant. The women I was dealing with was knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. The problem was with my old agency.
You see, I wanted to move into the new flat before the end date of my old contract. I was still going to pay the rent for an extra month in the old house without living there (my housemate at the time and boyfriend were going to live there). I did this because I didn’t want to lose this flat. If I waited any longer someone else would have taken it and moved in as my landlord wanted someone in ASAP.
I sent off my notice to end the contract. Job done.
I had to fill in a form to do a tenancy check. This is to make sure I have enough money to pay my rent. When you fill the form in, your employer has a week to confirm your work details and your previous landlord or agency also need to give a reference. This is where the problems started. Kayla, who I was dealing with, was new in her role and didn’t have a clue. Rather than admitting she was unsure about something and finding out the right answer, she would just make something up. This lead to getting different answers each time. She was withholding my reference and said she couldn’t give me one until after my tenancy has ended. Which is different to what she told me previously.
As I only had a week for the tenancy check to go through, I was in a panic. The women I was speaking to at the new agency said she wasn’t allowed to withhold the reference and ended up calling Kayla herself.
In the end, Kayla said I cold have it if I pay all rent until the end of the agreement. So I had to pay up another 2 months rent up front. I was so fed up at this point, I finally agreed. Only to find out I had to pay a further £24 for the reference itself.
To make things even better, they next month they took the rent out of my bank so I had to call up and get them to put the money back in. I refused to speak to Kayla and said I wanted someone else to deal with it.
Moving house is stressful enough without dealing with people who are unreliable and lack the right information. I vowed I wouldn’t move house again unless I was buying.
Since then, I’ve often looked at house and flat prices around the area I live. Having a single income means I’m pretty limited in how much I can borrow. I’ve always dreamt of buying the perfect home that’s ready to move into right away, but it’s looking more likely I’d have to buy a cheaper home that needs work and slowly improve it over the years.
Where I live, I could get 2 or 3-bed terraced house for between £90-100 that needs work doing such as an updated bathroom or decorating. Or even a loft or basement conversion!
It’s hard enough moving house when I don’t have any furniture – so the thought of buying a house to later upgrade and either have to move all the furniture or buy new gives me a headache!
See the infographic below about some of the benefits of moving vs improving.