Teaching has always been considered one of the noblest and most respectable professions in the world. But the reality is, being a teacher is rarely associated with glamorous lifestyle or sky-high salaries. Thus finding an affordable place to live sometimes may be critically important, especially for young educators who have just begun their career.
So before you start looking for accommodation, take into account these general guidelines. They will help you determine the optimal rent budget for your income and finally decide whether you are ready to go for that ‘lovely central flat’ or not.
1. Assess your financial position
The first and foremost thing you need to do is to evaluate your finances. Grab as much information as you can. Count all the wages, bonuses, pensions, special education needs allowance, TLR payments, and other means of income, if there are any.
Don’t know where to begin? Try using simple budget planner tools. There a lot of online calculators that will help you manage your money and plan the future.
2. Break down your budget into categories
Expect to spend half of the salary on fixed costs such as housing, utilities, and transportation. The other half should be split between your wants (30%) and savings (20%). As Jim Vernon, CEO of RockHer says "It is a perfect minimalist budgeting plan designed for people who want a simple way to manage their finances".
Therefore if you earn £2,000 per month, you should spend £600 on groceries and entertainment, £400 on future financial goals and £1,000 on fixed costs. Take away the utility bill and transportation expenses from this number, and you will find out how much is left to pay for rent.
Remember, in case your rent payment is way too expensive, it may negatively affect other budget categories. For instance, paying off debts, establishing an emergency fund, or building the retirement plan.
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3. Look for accommodation services
If you are coming from abroad or relocating from other parts of the country, you can always turn to a property management company. For example, Relocation Genie helps educators find accommodation across London, Essex, and Kent, offering long and short-term housing contracts.
They also help teachers who want to share rent with other teachers. Plus, if you have no opportunity to sort accommodation personally, they will do this remotely while you’re overseas.
A spacious room with ensuite in a modern house will range from £700 to £900. Considering that all the gas, water, electricity, Internet, TV, council tax and cleaning costs are included in the price, it will be a great option for budget-conscious tenants.
For London, The Mayor of London Rents Map is a handy tool.
4. Remember about the upfront costs
Before you put a signature in the contract, make certain you are able to pay the rental deposit and agency/removal fees. For instance, the deposit alone will be equal up to 6 weeks of rent.
You should also ensure that you protect your right to get back your deposit at the end of your tenancy. Landlords are legally obliged to put your deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) if you rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007. This means they are unable to deduct from it unfairly or hold it back from you at the end of the tenancy without due cause. https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection
If you don’t have an opportunity to pay straight away, check whether there's a rent deposit or bond scheme that can solve this problem. But keep in mind that not all landlords will accept such conditions, so it’s always better to discuss it beforehand.
5. Study the contract
Nothing will help you determine the rent budget more precisely than reading carefully your agreement. So always double-check the bills you are required to pay. If there are some doubts or inaccuracies, ask.
In case you consider renting a property with another teacher, make sure you are listed on the tenancy agreement as joint tenants. Otherwise, you alone will be liable for the entire rent and bills. Plus be attentive with 'joint and several liability' paragraph. According to it, if your housemate doesn't pay, the landlord has the right to demand the missing amount from you.
Budgeting may be hard, but there are steps you can take to make it much easier. Just think of your budget not as a bunch of restrictions, but as an effective plan that allows you to meet the financial goals. Track all of the numbers, ask questions, start saving little by little. And you'll be ready to move to your dream flat even before you know it.
About the author
Connie Benton is a passionate freelance writer and guest contributor. She writes about content marketing, business writing, and blogging.