I've pretty much (except for 2 months) renting houses since I was 24, not long after I felt stable enough in my first proper full time post as a Nurse.
I have to say I've really enjoyed it so far.
Not without difficulties of course as with anything. But it has given me a lot of experiences that I want to share here. I hear a lot of people discuss the disadvantages of renting a house. But I'm here to discuss the positives whilst incorporating things I've learned along the way.
Advantages of Renting Property
1) You learn a lot about being an adult
I was always told as a kid and a teenager growing up "make the most of having your washing done for you etc". Now that said, I am grateful for everything my mum ever did for me to make sure I didn't have to see without. I know there are a lot of people growing up in poverty and maybe don't have the luxury of having a caregiver sort out domestic chores for them. My mum did all the washing, cleaning and cooking in the house. I'm glad she provided this for me so I didn't have to learn from an extremely early age. But I feel that I've always been quite independent in that I like learning how to look after myself.
I've had to learn how to juggle working, paying bills, how these bills work, cleaning, cooking and washing by myself. No bringing home bags of washing for mum to sort out any more.
This allowed me to learn how to not only task manage, but time manage and problem solve.
2) Learn new skills
This also is encompassed in the previous point, I had to learn how to do a lot of stuff myself domestically, but I also needed some basic DIY skills in order to keep the house afloat.
I'm no Bob the Builder, but I have built a bed myself (had to ask my dad for a little help at the end as Argos had made a hole in one of the panels face the wrong way and I couldn't get the leg of the bed screwed in, so my Dad saved the day with his tool box and set to work drilling a hole in the correct place for me.
I've had to build a chest of drawers, fix light bulbs, toilet roll holders and toilet buttons alike.
Anything I can't do, I ask the landlord/lady. Or make the most of someone's abilities. For instance; my first house I rented in Belfast, even with a chair I couldn't reach the fire alarm to change the battery. So one day when the gas man came to service the boiler. (steady on there, not "my boiler" I mean a literal gas boiler, you nasty piece of filth haha!)
Since he was a tall chap I asked him if he'd mind changing the battery for me, which he gladly obliged, after having a laugh at my height or there lack of.
No-one expects you to be able to do everything yourself. You might be an independent so and so who don't need no man but we can't be a jack of all trades in everything in life.
That's why we have tradesman or relatives who are a dab hand at DIY stuff.
3) Renting let me find out what I like and don't like
You have to view houses before you put a deposit down, whether it's buying or renting. Sometimes viewing houses can be like using Tinder. There are houses advertised that look absolutely like they might be the one. Then when you go on that date, you find out that there is a lot of baggage with it that just doesn't sit right with you.
However, there are some things that you won't foresee until you are in the thick of it.
For instance when I moved into my house in Belfast, the walls you could hear the neighbours telly blasting. Now you couldn't hear everything but it was a bit frustrating at times.
My house was also smack bang in the middle of where the 12th July parades marched through (if you aren't familiar, google it) Which played havoc one day as I was working all over the 12th holiday and couldn't get home for 3 hours whilst the bands played... Not good when you need a wee.
You learn other things to take into consideration that meet your criteria. You mightn't have much of a criteria before you move out, but trust me by the end of your tenancy you will.
Some examples of mine would be off street parking for 2 cars (makes your car insurance a little cheaper and it's a little safer), a garden, not paper thin walls, safe neighbourhood, and most recently a decent takeaway. Where we live there is sweet FA near us (it's also good because it means we have to cook everything meaning it's healthier but still, sometimes a girl needs a decent Chinese takeaway ya know?) For you that might look different depending on whether or not you have a family, what kind of job you have etc.
4) You may learn some vital skills such as conflict management skills
Whether it's with a nasty neighbour, difficult landlord, or horrible estate agents. You learn important tricks in how to handle situations and handle yourself.
I've had a couple of tricky situations particularly in our current house where me and Kyle have both had to face some difficult people together and separately in some very bizarre situations. Whilst I still have a lot of learning to do yet, I've come a long way in asserting myself and fighting my corner where I need to.
There are some untrustworthy people out there. Whether you like it or not you will be naive at first. But you can help yourself by taking tips from family and friends who've been there done that.
Don't trust anyone at face value when it comes to properties, they might be friendly to your face but when shit hits the fan you can rest assured they will try to pin the blame on you. Not always the case but I am under the impression that someone can be guilty until proven innocent when it comes to business.
For instance, your landlord/estate agent might be the sweetest chocolate in Thornton's when it comes to getting you to sign the papers and take the tenancy. But when you move out rest assured the company will go through the house with a fine tooth comb and try to take money out of your security deposit for things that were maybe there before you moved in. Unless you have proof, they can do what they please. You'll be left aghast because you and Becky were like BFF's 2 years ago for 2 weeks.
Now, don't slate me if you are a sales rep or estate agent. I get it, your job is difficult and commission based, you have to be a people person and a good sale pitch starts with a smile. Nothing wrong with it; it's the system I sometimes have a problem with. Don't take it so personal.
5) Keep your records straight and up to date
View anything to do with houses as purely business. Be pleasant of course that goes without saying. But don't assume everyone is on the same page. When you are given an itinerary of the property, even the T&C's, go through it so thoroughly that you consider becoming a lawyer. Make your own itinerary, take photographs of EVERYTHING wrong with the place, even things that might seem insignificant. Trust me, it will work in your favour if you chose to move out to another place or buy a property, you will have clear time stamped evidence to support your case when the security deposit issues comes into question.
This was a big one for us last year, when we moved out of our old flat, our old landlord tried to pull a fast one by saying that we didn't get the carpets cleaned and that the place was a mess when we left. Thankfully we employed someone to clean the carpets with an invoice; And even to the Landlords own admission, the estate agents hired an independent inspector who reported back that the house was of an professionally clean standard. I still can't get over the cheek of the landlord thinking we were going to cough up an extra couple of hundred for them to "clean it".
So keep good records of everything. Be on top of it, because guaranteed someone else will and it might not work in your favour.
This can be a disadvantage if you aren't careful and realistic
Obviously a lot of people will say stay with your parents rent free for as long as you can to allow yourself to save money. Whilst there is a lot of truth in this, this isn't always everyone's reality. Not everyone has that luxury for their own personal and individual reasons.
So when you are renting, cross reference your potential bills and rent with your income. Be realistic with what you can afford and what you can put away for savings.
This can vary depending on your circumstances and I am not blindsided by this.
I would recommend the book "Get your Shit Together" By Sarah Knight. Commical and hard hitting with them facts about procrastination, even touches on saving money etc.
Set realistic goals for savings, you might not be able to put a deposit down on a house in 1 years time. So be realistic with your targets. For instance you might be working part time as at a garden centre on maybe £7.50/hr. There's a few questions to ask yourself
1) Can you pick up extra shifts/extra work elsewhere?
2) If so its this feasible i.e. family commitments
3) are you on benefits? perhaps consider advice from a company such as this
There's plenty of advice services that offer advice and help
4) Consider all your earnings, look at price ranges online of houses for rent.
5) Sit down and calculate how much you could realistically put aside per day, per week, per month or whatever way you get paid.
Remember you got this, you can do this. Reach out for help if you need it from the right people. If you are struggling with debt, pay your debts off first.
Once you have them paid off, you'll know what you can live without money wise. For instance, if you're paying off credit cards say £30 a week; once you've eventually paid off your credit card debt, you'll have made adjustments to living without that £30 a week and can start putting that into a savings account. That's just one example, it might be less or more for you. However if you seek out help and advice from services such as:
Money Advice Service, you will be able to taylor your own
Thanks for coming to my TED talk haha! So these are my advantages of having rented before I buy a house.
I am a 25 year old nurse, who is trying to find herself. This blog will contain epiphanies I have, my yoga progress and other such things. Enjoy. :)