With a city as large as London, finding a flat mate might seem to be an easy task, but when it comes to seeking out the person that you’re going to be sharing your living space with, it’s sensible to take a few precautions to ensure that your home really will be the sanctuary that you need it to be.
Of course, we all have our endearing little habits that make us who we are, but the last thing you want is to find out when it’s too late that the person you’ve chosen to share your home has some rather unsavoury tendencies that you’d rather not have to put up with!
So, with that in mind, here’s the ultimate guide to finding a flat mate in London – and one that will help ensure a happy home life for all involved.
Understand Your Requirements
This is the first step to a happy flat share: understanding exactly what it is that you’re looking for. Ask yourself some poignant questions:
- Do you just want someone in my flat who helps with the rent/mortgage, and who won’t impact too much on my daily life?
- Or are you looking for someone with whom you might like to socialise, and who provides good company?
- Do you need your own time out – you know, quiet time to watch movies, do some cooking, or generally chill out in whatever way you choose?
- How often do you want the other person to be there? Perhaps you’d like a professional who only needs a bed during the week, and then goes somewhere else at weekends – or do you want someone else in your home 24/7?
Once you understand your own requirements, it’ll make it a lot easier to decide the kind of person who’ll make the perfect flat mate.
Compose Your Advert
If you’re going to be advertising your place, remember that a picture speaks a thousand words. Take some great photos, as this is likely to be what entices your perfect flat mate.
Be very specific about the rental price and what share of the bills they’ll will be expected to contribute. If you’re not sure about how to price the room, research others that are advertising in the same area.
In addition to describing your flat, add in details about public transport links, parking, and amenities close by.
Beginning The Search
There are many different ways that you can find a flat mate:
Word of Mouth
There’s certainly a lot to be said about getting a personal recommendation when it comes to finding a “roomie.”
Tell all your friends and family that you’re either looking to flat share with someone else, or that you’re looking for someone to come and live at your property (whichever is applicable to you).
Work colleagues are also a good source, as are people you know from various social activities, such as the gym or any other clubs you belong to.
Use a “Flat Share” Service
Advertise on Gum Tree
Gum Tree is a good place to advertise – either if you have a room to let or are looking. You can place a free ad, but if you’re serious, it’s worth paying the small fee to ensure your ad shows up at the top of the listings.
Hit Social Media
Yes, Facebook is now a valid place to search for a flat mate with the Hava Wana Room Group.
It’s a closed group so you have to make a request to join, and then you can either scour through the various posts or put on a request of your own.
Go Speed Flatmating
Yes, there really is such a thing, and it’s organized by Spare Room, one of the online services mentioned above. Speed Flatmating organises various events around London on a regular basis with up to 100 people at each.
Assess Your Possibilities
Okay, so you’ve found a potential match (or matches). Now comes the time to do a little in-depth digging to ensure that this is going to be a harmonious relationship.
The first thing to do is to meet up. Ideally do this at a neutral location – you can always show them around the property afterwards.
Or if you prefer to do it at home, it might be a good idea to ensure someone else is with you (there are some odd balls out there, after all).
You need to ask some personal questions – yes, this can feel a little awkward, but you’re going to be living with this person, after all.
Questions you should not forget to ask include:
- Why do you want to live in this area, and in this flat in particular?
- Have you ever rented before, or shared a flat? Why did you leave?
- How long do you expect to live here for?
- What do you do for a living? Does this include working, unsocial hours?
- How will you be paying (cash, BACS, etc.)? What about bills?
- Have you got references?
- Do you smoke? Have pets?
- Will you expect to entertain friends on a regular basis?
- Have you got any special requirements, such as allergies or any disability?
- What do they expect from you – as in simply somewhere to lay their head, or are they looking for companionship as well?
- What do they consider to be their best and worst habits?
Of course, this is not a comprehensive list, and you’ll be sure to think of some questions of your own. Just treat it as an interview, and be prepared to answer questions about yourself as well.
Once you’ve narrowed the possibilities down to a short list and followed up with references, it’s time to make a decision.
This might seem huge, but never forget that many people successfully find flat mates every day, and with a little planning and forethought, you too can do the same. Happy hunting…