How to get the flat you want

Flat hunting is an inherently painful process. After a particularly traumatic experience last year, only signing the lease at the beginning of May, I felt the need to share some wisdom that I, and my nearest and dearest, gathered during that gruelling ordeal.

Sign up to daily Zoopla updates: this will save you the painful process of scrolling through page after page. You can sign up to receive daily emails containing any new properties that match your specifications: number of bedrooms, budget and location.

Hit the gym: some estate agents run on a first come first serve basis, the first person to reach the estate agency after the viewing gets the flat. Run drills in the Meadows, cross country between campuses and sprint to your lectures. Preparation is key guys.

Find flatmates (or not) early: regardless of your future flat size, the sooner you begin your hunt the better. It’s also important to ensure you’re on the same page with your future flatmates with regard to location, budget and the rest to prevent unnecessary future conflict.

Know your priorities: expecting to live a stone’s throw from George Square while only paying £300 a month in rent? That’s not going to happen. Figure out what you want and ensure that your future flatmates agree.

Do your research: before you go to view a flat, read about the agency, know the definition of HMO, have a reasonable understanding of Edinburgh’s geography and check whether you’ll need to bring a deposit to the viewing. Turning up to a viewing without a plan is not a good idea.

Be realistic: Without a generous budget and an awful lot of luck your flat won’t be perfect. It’s likely to be a little bit damp, a little bit mouldy and you’ll probably be sharing it with a few little mice. Accept it, otherwise your first flat viewing may just break your heart.

Don’t panic: like I said, we only found our flat in late April and others found theirs much much later, you will find a flat and all will be well. At the end of the day, as long as you’re reasonably happy with your flatmates, you’ll cope wherever you end up.

Keep an open mind: You’ll see some weird flats online, some may not even have uploaded pictures, but you should view them anyway. Sometimes you can get pictures from your estate agent of the flat without even going to the viewing – it’s always good to check.

Lie: befriend your potential landlord or property manager, even if this means bending the truth in your favour. If they grow fond of you, the likelihood of you securing that perfectly average flat will increase exponentially.

Drop out: or worse… become an RA.

[image: Patrick Down via Flickr]

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