The best apps to help you find your new rented home

Moving house is stressful. Whether it’s for an exciting reason or not, finding a suitable new place and moving all your worldly possessions to it is one of those arduous tasks that the average person in the UK does eight times in their life.

36% of properties in England are rented, giving you the freedom to fly the family nest, follow your dreams in a new city or move in with a lover – or run away from dirty housemates, a relationship breakup or a landlord who’s decided to sell up and move to the South of France. It’s always the South of France…

With all this emotional upheaval going on, keeping the admin of moving as low stress as possible is a priority. We’ve got some tips for harnessing technology to help shift the focus back on to the positives – finding a new place that’s full of potential.


Finding a new place to rent: Agencies

The vast majority of rentals come through agencies, and recently they’ve been putting pretty much every property up on Zoopla, Right Move or both. It’s handy to be able to browse through the photos to get a sense of what’s out there, but if you can see a property, so can everyone else! Competition for homes – rented and bought – is fierce at the moment, especially in London, so there’s no substitute for the personal touch.

Use the websites and apps to suss out which agents in your area are likely to have the sort of place you’re looking for, then go to meet them and let them know what you’re looking for. If you make friends with them you might be lucky and get first viewing on something perfect.

Finding a new place to rent: Private landlords

For private rentals and housesharing Gumtree and Spare Room are the go-to sites, though you do have to be extra vigilant when dealing with a private landlord. That £180+VAT estate agent fee is really annoying, but at least it gives you some sense of security! Thankfully Shelter have some great tips for renting privately, covering deposit protection schemes and what you can expect from your landlord.

3466560105_7cdb1c51d0_oMaking a decision and planning the move

It’s funny how every property you view is just about to be snapped up by someone else – according to the estate agent, who hovers around impatiently trying to get you to make a life changing decision on the spot. These things shouldn’t be too rushed or you might end up in a flat that has no drawers or cupboards in the kitchen (true story!), but if you’re getting good vibes from the place why not send photos to your housemates / partner via Dropbox to get their thoughts then and there, then use Evernote to start collecting together images and room measurements.

Filming a simple walk around video from the front door and throughout the property gives an even better sense of the place – useful for cajoling your partner in to attending a second viewing, and even more handy for planning the move. Pro tip – make sure your photos and videos take in things like plug sockets, alcoves and radiators so that later on when you’re obsessing over where to put your furniture you don’t forget which walls can’t accommodate a bookshelf. Create a Pinterest board to keep track of all the furniture and soft furnishings you’re lusting after.

Packing and moving

Sorry, you’re on your own with this one! We would just like to remind you that posting photos of cardboard boxes on Instagram and moaning about how boring moving is on Twitter, while being tempting uses of your free time, do not speed up the packing process. Repeat – get off the internet and pack those boxes!


Images via Matt Cornock, Still ThinkingBrenda Clarke and Keturah Stickann.

Laura Kidd