Updated: Sep 10, 2018
Finding a Flat can be a pain, especially if you are new in town. You have to make it through
viewing after viewing and try not to get frustrated when your application is rejected. But it’s
all part of the process and will all be worth it when you finally find that cosy new home you
were looking for. I have done my fair share of flat hunting in the past and experienced all
those ups and downs. It definitely wasn’t always easy but what doesn’t kill you makes you
stronger right? So here are 7 things I have learned along the way so you won’t have to
repeat my mistakes.
1. Meet the flatmates
If you are looking for a room in a Flatshare make sure you meet and speak to the other
people you will be living with before you make a decision about the room. It’s really a hit and miss sort of thing and if you don’t connect you are potentially setting yourself up for a horrible situation. Ask yourself do I trust these people to be around my milk without drinking it? I did not ask myself this question and ended up having to drink my coffee black. Yuck!
2.Set yourself a realistic budget
When searching online it’s very easy to be flexible with how much you are willing to pay per month. When you see that beautiful flat from your dreams you tell yourself "I'm sure I can pay an extra £££ for this." And if you are able to that’s great! But make sure you have a look over your budget and find that extra money before you sign a 6 month lease. Or you might find
yourself living of plain pasta 3 months down the line.
3.Check for any infestations
So this one might not be relevant to every city out there but it is always worth having a look
out for this. When viewing a flat check if there are any signs that you might have some extra
unwanted flatmates. In one of my first flats we ended up having a severe mouse problem despite keeping the place spotless. I only found out after we discovered our little friends that this is actually fairly common in the area and something you should look out for. Joe LaMouse, Sparkling Prince and Rory (yes we actually named them) ended up coming into our beds and climbing up our shelves. Eww! Not very nice! So if there are any signs of mice, rats cockroaches and co, it might be a good idea to stay away from that flat.
4. Check out the local area
Get a feel for the surroundings of the flat. Do you see yourself living here or does it all seem
a little bit dodgy ? Set some time aside after the viewing to have a little wander around;
maybe grab a coffee or a pint (RelocateGuru can point you in the right direction). Make sure
the area is safe and offers you all the things you are going to need in your everyday life.
Trust me it is a nightmare having to travel across town to find a decent supermarket.
5.Make sure the place suits YOU
If you’re looking at a shared flat, check that their style of living works for you. You don’t want to end up in a party flat if you prefer a quiet night of netflix and snacks. Equally important is the cleanliness factor in a flatshare. If the rest of the flatmates is not too bothered by a little bit of a mess but you prefer the place to be spotless, everyone is going to be unhappy. If you’re looking for your own place check that it offers you what you need. If you’re bringing along a cat make sure the place is pet friendly. Or if you need a lot of storage space check that the flat offers this.
6.Don’t wait too long to make a decision
I have missed out on some great flats by not getting my application in quick enough.
Especially around the start of the university semester the flat market can get very competitive. I have been told horror stories of 30 people turning up to the same flat viewing. So if you know you want the place let the estate agents know as soon as possible.
7.Research the Estate/Letting Agents
In a lot of cases you will be dealing with an agency rather than a private landlord. They will be your first point of contact if you’re having issues, so it is important to know that you can rely on them. Often you are able to google the company and find some reviews and ratings so you know in advance what you might encounter. There is nothing worse than your lock breaking and the agency ignoring your emails and calls.
Do you have any flat hunting stories or tips to share? I would love to hear them! Share them in the comments below and lets start a conversation to help make moving home easier!