Six things to consider when looking for a flat to rent or buy

You’ve decided you can afford the place, it’s in the right location and it’s the type of property you want, but can you live there? Here are some considerations you might overlook.
How much do you value peace and quiet?
You can’t control your neighbours’ movements, so if you’re going to be annoyed by people stomping around upstairs at all hours, a top floor flat might be your best bet. You might not want to live above a piano teacher, for instance, either. Check the noise levels at different times of day.
Is there a school nearby? Make sure the school run isn’t going to drive you to distraction. Or maybe there’s a nightclub or pub on the corner – not ideal if you’re an early to bed kind of person.
Ease of access
Can you really manage all those stairs or do you look forward to the fitness challenge? Also bear in mind getting your furniture in and out. Tight stairwells and narrow doors pose a huge challenge that can soon become expensive as you call in expert help.
Common areas
Check out who looks after them. If they’re scruffy and unkempt with old post and free sheets lying around, will that get you down? Talking of rubbish, where are the bins kept? How easy is it for you to put yours out?
Parking for cars, bikes and pushchairs
Many flats have no provision for parking of any kind. Check out the on-street parking if you don’t have an allocated space somewhere. In some blocks of flats it’s forbidden to keep pushchairs and bikes in common areas. Can you get them up to your flat easily to keep them out of the way?
Does the landlord live in the building?
There are pros and cons here. If they do, it can be a boon to be able to contact them easily. It can also be a pain in the neck, depending on the landlord’s personality. That’s a tough one to judge before you move in. If they don’t you might feel you have a greater sense of freedom but ask around to make sure the landlord is good at managing their property. You want someone who deals promptly with your problems.
Restrictions in the lease
We’ve already mentioned leaving bikes and pushchairs in common areas, but there are all sorts of clauses that can creep into a lease. The no pets rule is common, but landlords often specify how you can hang pictures on the walls or redecorate. They can even specify noise curfews and ban keeping certain things like gas bottles in the flat.