What to look out for when viewing a rental property

When did you last use your balcony to sunbathe or eat breakfast with friends? For many people, that is just a distant memory. Over time, it is not uncommon for outside spaces to gradually become an extra storage area and enjoying your morning coffee in the sun might now be a thing of the past. With our tips and tricks, you can give your outside space a relaxed holiday feel.

Need space for kids, starting a new job abroad or simply fancy a change of scene? A new stage in life often goes hand in hand with house hunting. However, nowadays it’s not easy to find a new flat. After all, the competition never sleeps. The property viewing process plays an important role. That’s why we have put together a checklist of things to remember as a prospective new tenant. With these tips, you could soon be signing the rental agreement for your dream home.


Before the viewing

You should begin preparing before the viewing. Start by going online to google information about the area. There is a lot that you need to find out about your new neighbourhood.

  • In which municipality is the new flat? What is the tax rate for that area and what is the situation regarding the municipal finances? Could this lead to a tax increase in the future? 
  • What are the shopping facilities, public transport connections and recreational areas like in the region? 
  • Is there a sports centre, a doctor’s surgery, a nursery and a park nearby? 
  • You may also want to visit the neighbourhood in advance to find out how congested and noisy the residential area is.
  • Are there enough green spaces for your four-legged friend? Or is there a cat-friendly way out of the house? 

As well as your investigative research, you should also prepare your application documents. It is never too early to start – the quicker the letting agent has your documents in their hands, the better. To find out what to include in your application portfolio, check out our blog on applying for a rental property.

During the viewing

Here are a few tips to help you impress the landlord on the day of the viewing. You don't need to get all glammed up, but make sure you look in the mirror before you head off to the viewing. A smart appearance gives a good first impression.

While you travel to the viewing, take time to discover different things about the area. For example, how accessible the flat is by car. Is there a blue zone or visitor parking nearby?

Then as you step over the threshold into the building, switch on your investigative senses because this is where the detective work really begins. What is your first impression of your potential new neighbours and the stairwell? Are there signs that some neighbours have children? Is there a lift? 

When the door opens and the letting agent shakes your hand – or perhaps greets you with an elbow bump – introduce yourself, giving your first name and surname. During the conversation, show that you’re interested and ask questions but not too many. The viewing might be conducted by the previous tenant. In this case, leaving a good impression might play less of a decisive role. However, you still need to find out the following:

  • How old is the heating and does the extractor work? 
  • Which energy sources are used to heat the building? This could have big cost implications in the event that they need to be replaced. 
  • Are the rental fees and additional costs fixed or should you expect changes? 
  • Familiarise yourself with the internet connections. Is there a fibre optic cable? 
  • How big is the net living area? Do you lose space due to the slope of the roof or corridors?
  • When was the flat last refurbished?
  • If you play an instrument, you should ask whether you are allowed to practice during the legally permitted times.
  • Daylight. Does the flat get sun in the morning or afternoon? And how light is it when the sun isn't directly shining in? 
  • Is there a parking space? Has it got a dry basement? 
  • Is the kitchen well equipped? Is there a washing machine and a tumble dryer?
  • How secure are the windows and entrance doors to the building? Were they open when you came in? 

If you attend a group viewing conducted by the landlord, it is important to get the landlord's attention. Take the initiative to approach the landlord and strike up a conversation. Make it clear that this flat perfectly meets all of your needs. Don't give them flowers or chocolates, just give them confidence in you. Be honest and polite.

After all, it’s not just the tenant who might have questions, but also the landlord. If the landlord is not present, those questions can still be asked via phone or e-mail. 

Write yourself a checklist including all the questions and points mentioned in this blog. It will be pretty extensive! This way you won't forget anything in your excitement over viewing the flat.

After the visit

Comparing different properties that you have viewed is considerably easier using an evaluation sheet. It’s best to fill it in straight after the viewing. Once you have decided you want a flat, hand over your application portfolio immediately. If the landlord or letting agent carries out the viewing in person, then it is best to give your portfolio to them directly while you're still at the property. If that’s not the case, then you can send your portfolio via post or even deliver it straight to the letting agent yourself to get it there as quickly as possible.

Self-storage for your household goods

Are you looking for flexible storage space?

What should you do with all your household belongings if your new flat isn't ready to move into but you have to leave the old one? Here at Zebrabox, we provide individual storage units ranging in size from 1m2 to 50m2 and starting from a duration of just one week. If you don't want to do all the heavy lifting, we can even organise the whole move for you together with our partner company.