London Blog

How our “How much should I pay?” widget works

We’re very happy to announce the release of our latest widget How Much Should I Pay?. The aim of this tool is to help people to establish what an appropriate amount of rent you should pay is for certain types of property in certain areas. This is particularly important if you haven’t rented before or are about to move to London from abroad. The model allows you find out what you can expect to pay either on a specific property (i.e. where you know the exact address) or a general property in a general area (e.g. a I think I want a 2 bed property in Clapham).

When should I use it?

This widget is very powerful when combined with our other widget Where should I live?. Using the two together, you can figure out where the best part of London for you is, and then based on your preferences, find out how much you can expect to pay in rent there.

Can this help me combat fraud?

Yes. This tool could help to protect you from fraud. There is a very common fraud in the online property rental world where excellently located properties are advertised for very low rates (e.g. 2 bed flat in Knightsbridge for £500 per month). The excited would-be renter is then told by the “landlord” to deposit one month’s salary in their Western Union account “to show that they are serious”. The property is of course fictional, but the theft is very real.

How does it work?

So the purpose of this tool is to show you what levels of rent you can expect for certain types of property in certain locations. But how does it work? Well the first thing we have done is to compile a big database of rental values across London. We have done this using an array of publicly available sources like those provided by the Mayor of London. This gives us a feel for the distribution of rents across London and how they range by number of bedrooms. This will tell us that a 2 bedroom property in Clapham usually costs somewhere between £330 and £430 per week. But £100 is a pretty big range so we’ve taken it to the next level.

In order to figure out more precisely what rent you can expect to pay, we’ve conducted a number of detailed surveys which quantify the relative impact of an array of property characteristics on rental levels. These are the questions we ask in the model, to pin down exactly what you should be paying.

  • How many reception rooms?
  • How many bedrooms?
  • How many bathrooms?
  • Roughly how big is it?
  • What type of property is it?
  • Is there a concierge or porter?
  • What storey is it on (if flat) or number of floors (if house)?
  • Does it have outside space and/or a good view?
  • Was it built in the last 5 years?
  • In what condition is the decor of the property?
  • In what condition is the kitchen?
  • In what condition is / are the bathroom(s)?
  • How modern are the fixtures and fitting?

Of course you may not know the answer to any of these questions, but the good news is that. The more answers you give us, the more accurate we can be, but the only factors we absolutely need are the name of the area, bedroom count and house type.

What’s next?

Sounds exciting doesn’t it. Well the good news is we’re only just getting started. When you use the widget, you’ll notice we ask what you’re paying or being asked to pay (assuming you’re looking at a specific property). We do this so we can feed this information back into the model so we can make it more and more accurate over time.

This widget is very powerful when combined with our other widget “Where should I live?”. Using the two together, you can figure out where the best part of London for you is, and then how much your perfect property will cost to rent there.

January 29, 2013 rentonomy Topical