August and September are busy months for students, accepting admission offers, recovering from festivals, getting fit for the start of the semester and of course, dealing with the hunt for accommodation. Most of us try to avoid the last task because finding a good place to live is always a hassle. Worry not! I’m here to prepare you with top tips to face landlords and the renting market.
1. Define yourself and your needs
Get some paper, a pen and write down your core characteristics. Are you a social person, or do you like quiet evenings? Do you like to study at home, cook, play sports, computer games, sleep in, have a chat with someone? These all matter when you start to search for a place to live. When you have defined your needs, you’ll find it easier to choose between the options of single bed, double bed, shared room, flat or house, own bathroom etc.
2. Do your research and observe
Now that you have an idea of what type of accommodation you would like, you are ready to discover Dublin. Go online and check out renting and sharing websites such as daft.ie , easyroomate.com , rent.ie ; I recommend not to write to them right away. Take your time examining the ads, the locations and neighbourhoods. This way you’ll have a good understanding on the renting, sharing prices in a particular area. If you search for either a cheaper place or a better quality place, you can then narrow down your searches to your queries in the future.
3. Dig a little deeper
Here we are, you have an imaginary home, a budget, a preferred area to live in, now you need to expand that list. How far are you from school, work, closest grocery store, gym, city center, public transport, airport? When you consider contacting the advertiser, landlord, or student accommodations, it’s always handy to know where will you be based. By digging a little deeper you will choose the home that fits most with your comfort zone. Take a walk in the area, talk to people, look up events and places before you contact a landlord.
4. A Unique approach for the hunt down
“If you are interested in renting / taking the room, please write a few lines about yourself or call on this number to organize a view”
No need to freak out at this point, I know what you’re thinking: What should I write?!
I highly recommend having a draft so you don’t send an immediate message with your current mood in it, or with typo errors. Be unique and stand out in your letter. When you talk about yourself, summarise the basic information to one or two sentences. Your age, your occupation, your relationship status is not as important for a landlord as your personality.
Get to the point on why you are interested in the place, tell them how tidy and easy-going you are. It doesn’t hurt to give a little bit of your personality but don’t go too far. Half page is enough. Tell them some of your hobbies and interests, because landlords (especially if they search for housemate) tend to choose on how your personality and interests matches theirs.
5. View, be straightforward, negotiate gently
At this point, you’ll get a reply from the advertiser to go and view the room. If you are not in the city, try to ask for a Skype call, so you can see the room anyway. Be confident because it’s you who chooses to pay the rent and deposit, there are many rents out there, don’t stick with the first one. If you try to negotiate, give a reason why you want to change the contract (price, duration of stay).
6. Try other options
If you feel unsuccessful with the search, or you aren’t confident to make a commitment and sign a contract, ask for help. Student accommodation is always a great start, even cheap hostels, crashing at a friend’s place, AirBnB or CouchSurfing. This way you can build a great network, and get to know the city. Remember, your home will find you anyway, sometimes you just have to go with the flow and walk with open eyes and ears.
Written by Adam Dios