5 tips for renters - here's how to find a room quickly
So far I've met dozens of people after I posted house share ads on Daft. It's likely that not all house owners share my opinion, but I find the following to be *essential* when you're looking for a room:
1. It's an interview - behave accordingly.
There are countless articles online on how to prepare for and behave during an interview - for example, when applying for a job interview, just think of all the effort you put in your cv, cover letter and in the conversation with your potential employer.
I suggest putting at least a fraction of that effort when applying for a house share - first impressions count, starting from your contact phone call or email. Especially in the current market, where demand outstrips supply, house owners and your potential housemates have the luxury of being picky. So, edge your bets as much as possible.
Straightforward 'Dos' that are common in job interviewing (such as reading the ad, providing all the information required in it, being on time, etc.) apply to searching for a room.
2. If there are limitations in the ad, don't hope for an exception
Limitations such as accepting only females / males, no smokers, no pets, no couples, etc. will not be waived just for you - no matter how much you plead your case. The house owner most likely has a valid reason for the limitation, which I'm sure they've considered carefully as it reduced the pool of potential renters.
Do yourself and everyone else a favour and don't apply for house shares that you know have a hard limitation that excludes you from the running.
At best you'll receive a no with varying degrees of politeness, at worse you'll show up at the house viewing, discover that, yes, they were serious about no males / couples / smokers, etc. and you'll have wasted hours of your time.
3. If your question is answered in the ad or by a Google search, don't ask it
I freely admit that this is a personal pet peeve, however, after all the effort I put into the Daft ads I post, if you ask me questions such as 'Which bus do I take from my house?', 'How much is the rent?', 'How many other people live in the house?' - I can already tell you that you've lost points in my mind.
Reading the ad is not optional, so, if the information is there (and I know it is), you've just told me that (a) you didn't have enough care to read it or (b) this is a canned application you send to everyone.
Also resourcefulness and proactivity are good indicators of what type of renter you'll be. For example, I had a girl ask me if the 'area is safe'.
First of all, why would you trust the house owner, who bought the property in that area and has all the interest in finding a renter, to tell you the truth - even if that truth is 'yes, it's safe'.
Second, research the area, ask your friends, walk around the neighbourhood, etc. BEFORE viewing the house: why would you even view a house in an area you're not sure it's safe???
4. We all know the excuse 'It's my birthday on x day, can I view the house on y day?'
Even if it's actually your birthday, this excuse has been used sooo many times that nobody is going to believe you. Instead they'll see it as the excuse it is, and they won't take you seriously.
If you're looking for a room and you know how fierce the competition is, you prioritise your personal plans. So if you ask me to inconvenience myself so that you may keep your personal plans on the date of the viewing... the answer is likely going to be no.
5. Lies never work. Ever.
One of the most important elements of the relationship between landlord/lady and renter is trust - do not lie or try to take advantage of each other. It's never going to end well.
Let's say that during the interview, you reassure the landlord/lady you'll rent for at least 6 months, as requested by the ad, and after 3 months you decide to move out and give a couple of weeks notice instead of the contractual month.
Should you change your mind, need more time to move out, etc. the landlord/lady will likely feel very little inclination to be flexible or accommodating with you - why should they? You've shown them disregard for the contract and you've put them in a tough spot.
Lying might have served to get you the room, but it'll certainly put you in difficult situations down the line.