1. Set your budget

One of the most important pieces of advice we could suggest when looking to rent a home is to ensure you are fully aware of your budget and all the other costs involved when renting a home.

With most referencing companies, considering the cost of living, the combined salary should be no less than 30x the monthly rent or 2.5x the annual rent. If it is below this, you may need to have a guarantor.

You will also need to pay the first month’s rent upfront along with the deposit (usually 5 weeks’ rent).

2. Book a viewing

Once you have seen a property you like, contact the letting agent and they can answer any questions you have, and confirm a time and date to view.

If you are looking to secure the property, let the agent know as soon as possible and they can advise you of the next steps.

3. Making an offer

You have viewed a home you like, what to do next? Speak with the agent as soon as you can and register your interest. They will usually have an offer process they will go through with you, asking questions regarding your situation.

This is the time for you to mention any conditions to your offer, for example if you would like white goods or furniture in the property, and the date you are looking to move in.

4. Completing paperwork

If you are successful, the agent will ask you to fill in an application to rent and pay a holding deposit; 1 week’s rent, which is taken off the final move in balance. You will then be sent some paperwork to fill in (or a link) to start the referencing process. This will include credit checks and reference checks from your previous landlord/s and a reference from your employer.

They will also request proof of ID and current address for you, as there is a legal requirement to do Right to Rent checks.

5. Signing the paperwork

The Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) will be drawn up which includes all the details including move in/out date, deposit paid, rent due on which date etc. It is very important you carefully read before signing. The security deposit and first month's rent are then taken and lodged with a government-based deposit scheme.

6. Move in day

Now the exciting part! The first day in your new home! Before you move in, in most cases the letting agent will carry out an inventory to confirm the condition of the property before you move in. You will be sent a copy of the inventory and you would need to sign a declaration usually within 7 days of the move in.

When you move out the same inventory will be used to confirm the condition of the property when you leave, you should be sent a copy of the inventory.

7. Moving out

When the time eventually comes for you to move out. You need to refer to your AST contract to check the notice period you need to give. When moving out, clean the property and ensure any damage you have caused is repaired as the inventory done before you moved in will be used to check any potential damage/large wear and tear.

Any damages will be deducted out of your deposit money. After this, your deposit will be returned to you within a set amount of time.