So moving house sucks. Indeed it does. But I can now happily inform you that I now have a new home for Goho HQ (yaaay!!!!!) and it is occupied by some very lovely people and 2 pugs (oh joy!!!!!!) :). Happy happy.
The pugs are going to be moving out with their owners at some point but I sure am going to appreciate them being around, even for a little bit. Ugh puppy-love heart pangs. <3 <3 <3. Cannot wait to get a little beastie like this for myself (swooooon).
But back to the nitty gritty, there was a very scary few weeks then where I really didn’t think I was going to find anything. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. So I pressed on. This got me thinking about top tips for searching for your new digs. My good friend Katie [twitter-follow screen_name='TweetSutton']
helped me soooo much when I moved to London last September with her awesome advice. You’ll find the more you do it, the more advice you’ll pick up on the way. So here is a compliation of the most useful ones for you:
(DISCLAIMER: I only really have experience at looking in London and through home-shares, if your thinking of getting your own place – lucky you – I’m sure this will still be useful, as a lot of these are questions you can still ask you agent/landlord.).
- Some people hate it, other people love it, but I have found my last 3 homeshares through Gumtree. Check it out. It’s free to use for all features (which I much prefer) and is very straight forward to use. Just click on the Flats and Houses section and you’re in! Then you can narrow it all down by using their filters. In my case I was looking at all the homeshares but filtering it by price. Another great free site is MoveFlat. SpareRoom and EasyRoommate are also very good (but expect to fork out cash for the full features of the site).
- Write a list of qualities that your ideal place should have (when you get looking you will realise what you agree with in ads and what you don’t). I started to pick up on common traits in the adverts , eg, people would ask for a minimum stay of 6 or 12 months but some are very chilled about that – so that became something I looked out for. Really I think you should be able to leave whenever you need to.
- Once you’ve figured out what you want then you can write a fabulous but short email explaining who you are, what you do, what you’re looking for and definitely include an insight into your personality (people wanna know your not a psycho-killer ‘Qu‘est-ce que c’est’). If they’re not interested in your personality, then I’d say, expect a place without one and with flatmates who keep themselves to themselves (boring!!). Here is an example of what I wrote:
“Hi, I’m Emma,
I’ve just seen your ad and I’m very interested in your available room. I’m 26 and a young professional working in Barbican. I’ve been in London for a year (I moved from the midlands) and I love it. The lease on my current flat runs out on Sept 30th, so would like to secure something asap.
I’m sociable, fun and friendly. I like my chilled time as well as hanging out with my flatmates, going out to bars, galleries and gigs. I do a lot of writing – as I work on and run a number of blogs (my biggest passion). I believe in your home should be a home, so it’s nice to keep it relaxed and quiet but fun and friendly too.
I’d love to come and look at your room, whenever you have availability. I can be reached on (number) or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks”
- Then check the pages daily, as much as you can (it will drive you nuts but its the only way to do it), people update it ALL the time. When you see something you like the sound of get in touch asap. You will see how many views the page will have had on most of these websites – if it’s a crazy amount, probably don’t bother (I seen one the other day that had 6,000 views, Forget that!).
- Call and email! (Do everything you can to get in touch and get them to remember you).
- Copy the advert references and little details about the flat in a notebook, so you can remember them. If they call you, you won’t remember which flat it is off the top of your head, so try and make it stand out. If you didn’t write it down, people don’t usually mind reminding you of the details, if you ask kindly. But it’s best to be prepared.
- Always remember your safety when going to viewings. Probably best not to go on your own to a one-on-one interview, so try and grab a friend to join you.
QUESTIONS YOU MUST ASK ON VIEWINGS:
- How much is the rent approx every month (including bills). Get a rundown of the bills too so you know the score.
- If there’s a maintenance problem, will the landlord be good and effcient about sorting it out for you.
- Is the shower powerful? Do you have hot water all the time?
- More than one bathroom? (to deal with the morning rush, very important).
- Is there a cleaning rota?
- Is there a kitty for cleaning items/regular consumables etc etc?
- What is the vibe of housemates? Do they hang out together or live completely seperate lives with locked doors? Be best to know at this stage really
- Do the guys like to party? (coz that can be a bit of an issue if it’s a beginning/middle-of-the-week jobby). Erk. NOT good.
- Do they mind you having guests over to visit/stay for a few days? (V important if you ask me.)
- Can you hang things on the walls? Some landlords can be very funny about pictures/mirrors etc.
- Are there any other rules to be aware of?
- Does the flat have contents insurance?
Just stick at it and you will find somewhere. You could also meet your new best friends…just like I did. Emma, Freya, Tracey and Dan – living with you was awesome. Long live Cally Palace!! (Sad to leave next fri but so happy and blessed I found that joint on Gumtree – best place ever!!!!) **Tears**
FYI – BIG Goho recommendation: Caledonian Road in London – the place to live!
Roll on the new happy times though and good luck!
Love and suitcases Em xoxox