Relocation Advice » Finding a property

Relocation advice - finding a property

If you're looking for a place to live, your options are:

  • Renting
    • Flatshare
    • Renting a property (short-term)
    • Renting a property (6 months+)
  • Buying
These options are discussed further below.

  • Renting - flatshare

    • A room in a shared property can be a lower cost form of accommodation, with the added potential of some (hopefully) sociable flatmates

    • Gumtree and (including an introduction to flatsharing) are two popular sites; typical cost of a room in Surrey is £400-500/month including bills (council tax and utilities)

    • Always visit a prospective property accompanied

  • Renting - short-term

    • If you're looking to rent a property for less than six months, a short-term rental can be considered

    • Properties are usually available for periods of two weeks or longer

    • Availability of short term properties in Surrey is limited, but local estate agents are a good starting point

    • Properties are usually fully furnished and equipped with kitchen equipment etc, and save checking out of hotels each week if you're travelling to Surrey regularly

  • Renting - 6 months+

    • There's a wide selection of rental properties available in the county, typically on 6-month leases. At the end of the initial lease period there is usually provision for the lease to automatically extend until terminated by the landlord or tenant in accordance with the lease.

    • Leases are usually in the form of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and a typical deposit might be one month's or one-and-a-half month's rental

    • Most properties are rented unfurnished (furniture can be rented from furniture rental companies if needed)

    • Property size is typically described in terms of the number of bedrooms ("a two-bedroom flat") rather than floor area

    • Finding a property

      • Choose an area (see the town guides)

      • Properties are marketed through lettings agents. This agent is engaged by the property owner (the landlord), the service chosen might be tenant-find only, or fully-managed (including organising maintenance on behalf of the landlord). The letting agent fees are paid by the landlord.

      • Examples of properties available can be found on the property page

      • A home search agent can help find suitable properties based on your criteria (particularly useful if you're moving from a different area and viewing time is limited) - further details can be found on the services page

    • Start of the lease

      • Inventory and schedule of condition prepared

    • During the lease

      • The tenant is responsible for paying the rent (usually monthly)

      • Repairs are the responsibility/cost of the landlord (perhaps represented by a lettings agent), except in relation to damage caused by the tenant

    • End of the lease

      • At the end of the lease, the property will be inspected and the cost of any damage caused by the tenant deducted from the deposit

      • Where a lease has been terminated in accordance with the tenancy agreement, the tenant is not normally responsible for finding a new tenant.

  • Buying

    • Typically an estate agent (paid for by, and representing, the vendor) is engaged to market a property and manage negotiations

    • Most properties are either 'freehold' (ownership of the land) or 'leasehold' (the land is leased). A leasehold property (e.g. an apartment) may be described as 'share of freehold' where the property lessees collectively own the freehold of the land. A solicitor can advise on the implications of each type of land use right.

    • Property size is typically described in terms of the number of bedrooms ("a two-bedroom flat") rather than floor area

    • Finding a property

      • Choose an area (see the town guides)

      • Select suitable properties to view (examples on the property page)

      • A home search agent can help find a suitable property - further details on the services page

    • The purchase process

      • Make an offer (subject to contract) on a property

      • Once offer is accepted (often after some negotiation), engage a surveyor. Different types of survey area available depending on property type and risk appetite. A valuation is often required as part of a mortgage application also, though will typically be relatively high-level (not aiming to find structural defects)

      • Engage a solicitor to carry out local searches including relating to land title, and to prepare the sale paperwork (the conveyancing process)

      • Once the purchaser and vendor are ready, the sale contract is signed ("exchange of contracts")

      • Transfer of ownership ("completion"), with payment of funds to the vendor, typically takes place a few weeks later

    • Useful links

      • Data on prices paid on some property transactions in a given street can be found at Net House Prices

      • The Environment Agency website includes flooding and other environmental maps

      • Ownership information for individual properties can be found on the Land Registry website (click on "Find a Property" at the top of the page)

      • Information on Stamp Duty Land Tax (tax on property purchases) can be found here

  • Selling and letting

    • Details of agents who can assist with selling or letting your property can be found here

Next page: Organising the move


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