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How to tell what's affordable

Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up?Posts: 16,688
I've got to find a place to live within two months. While I'm currently in a house share, I think I'd like to find a place where I'll be alone. I don't have any idea if I can afford it, though.

To begin with, the advertised price for most such places doesn't include bills, and I don't know how to find out in advance what those (plus council tax, insurance and anything else I may be forgetting) would add up to, which is of course necessary if I want to know how much living there would cost.

Then, even if I knew the entire amount, I don't really know how to judge what the amount I can afford is.
I could get my bank statements and calculate an average of how much I spend in a month. Of course I also know what is definitely going out each month, such as my phone and bus bills. But is that enough to tell how much I have left reliably? And how do I decide what a good amount is to have left after I subtract the house bills as well?

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aren't you a student? If you study full time, you don't need to pay council tax.

    Ask current occupants of a flat what they're paying for their bills and go by that.
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    I've not been a student for just about a year now.
    And, do you mean the occupants of any random flat?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    No, I mean choose a flat/bedist/whatever you like and think you can afford (roughly) and ask the person living there what they're currently paying.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think the general rule of thumb is you can afford about 1/3 of your income for rent alone. That is enough to let you live comfortably after any other bills (unless you have huge bills like a car loan or whatever else)
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    Grace wrote: »
    No, I mean choose a flat/bedist/whatever you like and think you can afford (roughly) and ask the person living there what they're currently paying.
    Most of the places I've seen advertised are empty right now, so nobody lives there.
    my name wrote: »
    I think the general rule of thumb is you can afford about 1/3 of your income for rent alone. That is enough to let you live comfortably after any other bills (unless you have huge bills like a car loan or whatever else)
    I've heard that before but surely it depends on the person? For all you know I spend £200 gambling every week (I don't :p).
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i think asking the current tenants or landlord what the bills are like is a good idea, or you might be able to find out who the providers are and find out that way.

    Council tax and rent i think are the only two things where the price is definate and not based on how much you use
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    Lexi99 wrote: »
    i think asking the current tenants or landlord what the bills are like is a good idea, or you might be able to find out who the providers are and find out that way.

    Council tax and rent i think are the only two things where the price is definate and not based on how much you use
    Thanks, I found out how to calculate the council tax (I think). If the numbers I saw are per year and not month it should be OK.

    I'll have to ask for electricity etc for each place separately, I guess. I still don't have any idea what they may add up to though. Should I be looking at something closer to £100 or £300, for example?
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    Also, if anyone knows, how does contents insurance work when some things belong to the tenant and some to the landlord? Do you only insure your own things?
  • plugitinplugitin Noob Posts: 2,197 The Mix Regular
    FWIW Indrid, Council Tax will be up to around £1500 a year depending on where you live, but if you're alone you can normally get a discount of 25% for single person occupancy.

    I live in a 1 bed flat, I spent 400 quid on electricity and 150 quid on water in the year. But that's probably quite sparing with the usage. The bills come in quarterly for that too.

    Regarding insurance, if you get tenants insurance that should comfortably cover you for your belongings and damage to the premises. But you'd need to check each policy.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You can find the council tax band for your property at the DirectGov website, and the website of your local council will tell you what that means in pounds and pence. If you live alone you'll get a 25% discount.

    I had a very badly insulated bedsit in the top of an old Georgian house in London. It was on a coin meter for the electric, with no gas, and I reckon I spent about £50-60 a month on electric. Water will depend on whether you're on a meter or not, but factor in about £30 a month, same with broadband/telephone.
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    Thanks for your replies, everyone. :)

    I'm pretty sure I can afford it, now, and after thinking about it I think I prefer it to a house share.
    My main worries now are finding a place, as there don't seem to be that many one-bedroom flats in the area I'm searching, and also whether I can convince agents and landlords.

    I'll let you know how it goes.
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    I've just seen a place that seems perfect, except for being on the ground floor...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Take it!
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    I saw another ground floor place the other day, which was cheaper. It's closer to a main street and I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing (drunks?) but if I'm to decide that ground floor isn't a problem I'll ask if that one is still available.
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    The other place is available but I won't be able to see it again before Friday, and they're already checking out applications.
    If I can't find anything wrong with it I'd prefer it, but if I wait till Friday the one I saw today may be gone. :chin:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    cant you put your name down and ask them not to choose someone else until you let them know? Worth a try
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    They don't do that. It's an agency so if I say I want it they'll start credit checks after I pay them and that's non-refundable.
    That would make me worry about scams normally but it seems to be standard practice.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi Ingrid! There's a live chat atm about moving out for the first time. the Expert will be able to give you lots of advice
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    It doesn't seem I have a lot of choice, unless I wait hoping that something better will become available.
    Ground floor places worry me more about burglars that noise, although I hadn't considered that.
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    Juliet1 wrote: »
    Hi Ingrid! There's a live chat atm about moving out for the first time. the Expert will be able to give you lots of advice
    Thanks. I wasn't and couldn't be home at the time, though. And my nickname is Indrid, not Ingrid. :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks. I wasn't and couldn't be home at the time, though. And my nickname is Indrid, not Ingrid. :)

    :banghead: I'm sorry Indrid! I swear sometimes I can't read
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    Juliet1 wrote: »
    :banghead: I'm sorry Indrid! I swear sometimes I can't read
    Don't worry, it's a common mistake. :)
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    OK, so I applied for a place... We'll see.

    EDIT: I realised that no part in the form asked for my employer's details, but they said they'll check the reference... How?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    They'll probably ask for it later
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    Second time I've applied for something and they pick someone else.
    The problem is that I don't drive and so my options are considerably limited, as I need a place close to certain bus or train lines. For all I know "Maria" would've been fine in a place I wouldn't, but landlords don't get to know that when they decide. And even if they did, would they care?
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    So, I have a place :)
    Now, to get it furnished. Aside from the appliances, there's nothing. I ordered a bed and it will take a week to deliver. Then there's a wardrobe and a chair, the rest can wait.
  • JamesJames Posts: 1,706 Community Manager
    Congratulations Indrid :)

    How's it looking now? A little more home-like?


    EDIT: Just saw your other thread - sounds like IKEA and the bank aren't making it easy for you!
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    Yeah. For the moment the house is just sitting there empty except for a bunch of tools, toilet paper and a hoover.

    I'm waiting for at least the bed to get there before I move my things. That means I may have to stay here an extra week.
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