Wednesday, 9 March 2016

London Flathunting; The Flats I Looked At!

London flathunting sucks, guys. Especially if you're not planning on moving in with a partner or whatever which means you are subject to the harsh world of flatshare hunting. The world where not only do you have to find a flat that you like but you also have to combine it with people that you like, and where about 100 other people are also competing for the exact same locations.

That and the prices have also gone up by about £300 since you started renting at the current place you're at, but let's not dwell on that because it's very upsetting...

Friends told me how difficult it was. My lovely friend Alex who is a very likeable person told me how hard it had been for him to find a place, to the extent that he had started to bring chocolates and wine to his houseviewings so that he'd be more memorable and, let's face it, to bribe people. This really surprised me as Alex is a very likeable person and I thought he must have just had really bad luck but nope, this is the reality now. To the extent I genuinely thought I was about to become homeless and it's scary how easily it can happen - I mentioned this to a co-worker and he told me he had had the EXACT same problem. He'd had to move out of his flat, had 30 days, and was 2 days away from homelessness and would have been if a friend of his hadn't happened to have his flatmate move out on that day. Since then more friends who are now homeowners have remembered their time searching years ago and said it was the same for them. My experience five years ago was not bad at all. I looked at four places, liked three of them, and all said I could take it if you wanted. I was not prepared for the effort levels this time around.

So, here's the six flats I looked at this time around...

Flat #1: There's nothing really bad I can say about this one. I didn't like the location, and this wasn't helped by the fact that there were two men trying to make their dogs fight right outside the doors. However, the flat itself was lovely, and I can say no wrong about the people that owned the flat. They were all lovely, and I would have been so happy at this one. However they ended up taking a week to pick their new housemate which unfortunately went to a friend of one of them!

Flat #2: I actually liked this flat, however all the tenants paid their rent cash in hand and I thought this was a little odd. When he first mentioned it I pulled an expression that must have said it was a little bit surprising to me. This was followed by a "It's really normal to pay rent in cash." Uh, no it isn't. Plus at that sort of rent I don't think my bank even allows me to withdraw so much, and if it did I wouldn't want to carry it around. I actually did text this one afterwards and got a phone call to say it had been taken already. Right.

Flat #3: No. No no no. So, this three bedroom apartment was about the same size as a studio apartment. I know it's zone one, but come on. I don't think there was a single window in the whole place. Also, the guy that owned it just sucked. He was really good looking, I'll say that much, but conversation with him was not pleasant.

Flat #4: This one was fine. It was just fine. It was on an absolutely beautiful row of houses and yet was the only ex council estate on there and the lift smelled quite a bit like someone had peed in it. But the actual flat was fine. That was really my only impression of the whole place. It was fine. I didn't meet any of the people that actually lived there but by that point I was desperate so just said I'd take it, and the owner was happy for me too. However, that evening he called me to say that two of the people that were currently sharing a room had decided to take one each, so it was gone. Great.

Flat #5: This was a two bedroom flat in an area that I love. I honestly wasn't that sure on the person I'd be sharing it with. She was a little bland and friendly but not really all at the same time if that makes any sense at all. I didn't really want to live with her, but I did really want to live in the flat and that area so I made a real effort with this one. And then never heard back. Such is life.

Flat #6: I loved this flat. I loved the area. The room was the smallest of the lot but I didn't care because the flat was so nice and I liked the two people I'd be living with. The guy told me upfront that I was the first person who'd applied for it and in his head he'd already picked me for it but it was dependent on how well we got on in person, which obviously we did. I was so worried that it was going to fall through at any moment, but this is the one I'll be living in in a couple of days :-)

This is a topic I could talk about endlessly, and do. I'll be posting a series all about my new place (MOVING IN ON SUNDAY, GUYS. EEP) but would any of you be interested in tips and advice for those flathunting and flatsharing? If so I'll do another post on the topic soon :-)

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