New year, new home

New year new home before afterIt’s a common theme – the New Year sets in, we’ve failed miserably at Dry January and we turn our thoughts to some (perhaps more realistic…) goals we’d like to achieve. Unsurprisingly, along with changing jobs, moving into a new place is high up on the list for a lot of us. The reasons vary; we want new flatmates, a new city, go it alone or even just upgrade apartments. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of moving to a city penthouse complete with a hot tub on the terrace, but is it always a good idea?

Should I stay?

First up, as always, crunch some numbers. Even if you can afford your new rent don’t forget that moving costs and Estate Agents’ admin fees can really stack up and often make moving prohibitively expensive.

Knowing that you’re eventually going to have to move out means we can sometimes cut our nose to spite our face when it comes to looking after our rented accommodation. But with a little cleaning, TLC and a few quid invested, you could probably make your place a whole lot more homely and get a lot more out of your current flat. Great landlords are out there and, whilst some are strict about how you treat their property, it’s always worth asking whether creative license is granted. It’s amazing what a newly painted room can do and it doesn’t have to cost more than a couple of bribery pizzas for your flatmates! Hanging art and pictures can also be easier than you think thanks to damage-free picture hooks. If you’re lucky enough to have any outside space make the most of it – you can take pots with you if you move and it’ll brighten up those summer BBQs.

Or should I go?

If you’re sure it’s time to get out – do your research. Want to move to a particular part of town but can’t stomach the rent? Look outside the postcode; very often apartments a couple of streets on the other side of a high street can cost less.

Agents’ fees are considerable and advertising rules covering letting agent fees in the UK mean they must be displayed in advance so you should know what you’re expected to pay before you even pick up the phone to the agent. Don’t forget that these fees can be negotiated. Saving money on rent can mean increased costs elsewhere so make sure you factor in any changes in travel costs.

Finally, make sure you meet any potential new housemates before moving in with them. Deciding to move out of your noisy six-person house share can appeal, but moving into a small flat with one other you don’t get along with can be a whole lot worse…

Image courtesy of Hey Paul Studios, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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