Moving to London on your lonesome? Looking for a shared house to move into?
No wonder. Finding your perfect flatshare can be a daunting experience. Especially when the demand for a reasonably-priced room with a nice group of non-nutters seems to far outweigh supply. So what’s a (temporarily) homeless hopeful to do?
1. Get back to them sharpish
Great living arrangements in London are like gold dust and if you spot a room that looks the business, get in there quick. I can guarantee that if you leave it until tomorrow, they’ll already by inundated with offers, so make sure you’re in there first if you want to be in with a chance.
2. Don’t be late
Whatever you do, don’t get off to a bad start by messing people around. Call when you say you will. Schedule a viewing and stick to it. Get there on time. You want to make a great impression on your (potential) future housemates, and leaving them hanging is not the way to do it.
3. Be honest about what you’re looking for
I know, I know, you’re dying to take the room. It’s ten minutes from work and it has a garden and everything looks lovely. Sure, you’re a party animal and everyone else who lives here has a distinctly librarian vibe, but you’ll be able to reconcile your differences, right? Uh-uh. Wrong.
Living with people you don’t get on with is a special kind of misery that soon turns your ideal home into a prison cell you avoid at all costs. Don’t change your personality to match what you think they want; don’t say you’re totally happy with prospective rules you know in your heart you’ll never be able to keep. Better to keep searching on for your tribe then fake it to live with people you’ll hate within the week.
4. Stick around for a chat
Chances are, these guys are interviewing a lot of people. This brief meeting is all they have to go on when deciding whether to live and eat and sleep and party in the same small space as you for months or even years to come. If you like them and you like the room, don’t scuttle off with a murmur and hope they don’t forget you: take the chance to get to know them.
Accept that cup of tea. Sit down for a proper get-to-know-you natter. Ask them plenty of questions about what they do, who else lives there, how they all know each other, what kind of stuff they do as a house… the faster and more naturally it feels like you’re one of the gang, the more likely they’ll ask you to stick around for good.
5. Follow up with a friendly note
I mean, not in a stalky or OTT kind of a way. Real people don’t send muffin baskets (not in London, at least), after all. But a quick, friendly text or email to say it was great to meet them, you loved the room, you’d definitely be keen to live there – that works. Just enough to give them a gentle nudge in your direction, and keep you top of mind when they’re deciding who to give the room to.
6. Trust your gut
Okay, serious talk time: there are plenty of dodgy people out there in a city the size of London, and if you get any weird vibes, don’t for the love of God ignore them.
Consider taking a friend (or your Mum) to viewings if it makes you feel safer, and if something doesn’t feel right, don’t go at all. Never, ever, ever – no matter how desperate you are for somewhere to live – take a room in a house where you don’t feel safe, or you don’t trust your flatmates, or anywhere else that makes the little voice in the back of your mind scream “NO, NO, I DON’T LIKE THIS, NO CAN WE GO NOW PLEASE?” That little voice is wise. You could learn from it.
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