If you’re a young professional working in the big smoke like me, you may have to live in a house share, because apartment rents are sky high these days. It can be hard to find that perfect place to call home, but with digital technology at your fingertips, discovering your new home can be a lot easier than you might think. Drawing on my own experience doing this, I explain how to rent a room online.
Hunting homes online
I have a LOT of experience, when it comes to renting a room in a house share online. Back when I graduated from my Post Grad in 2011, I knew I needed to live in a city to get a job – they’re hardly hiring a lot of writers in Scarborough, where I’m originally from. But back then I was so cash-strapped I could barely rub two pennies together, so how was I ever going to afford city apartment rents?
I wasn’t, but luckily for me, the online revolution was just beginning to transform the world of renting. At that time, we were just beginning to see the rise of online house sharing, with websites popping up all over the place to connect landlords to tenants, and this is what I used to find a place. As a side note, this trend has really gained steam, and has led to the onset of concepts such as Airbnb, where you can rent a room in someone’s house while on holiday, showing how much digital tech is changing things.
Moving on again
As you know, I recently secured a new job in Manchester. That meant I had to move to a whole new city and find a place to live – in just two weeks! Luckily, I’d done this before, as I’d moved from Sheffield to Leeds three years earlier for work. I turned to Spare Room – a website which links landlords and prospective tenants, as I knew from moving to Leeds that this is the best service out there for this.
It’s easy to use Spare Room. Just visit the site, create an account – which just takes a few minutes, and you’re good to go. You can use its search tool to find house shares by location, and its advance search tool to get an exact match for your specification. For example, you can specify that you want a room where all bills are included in the rent, or that you only want to live with a specific gender. You can also post your own ads and let landlords come to you, taking away the stress of hunting down a room.
Viewing your rooms
It’s simple after that. Just start communicating with the landlord and arrange a viewing. There are a few things you should ask, to make sure this is the right room for you. Enquire about financial issues, such as the rent, whether you need a deposit and if you’ll need to pay ‘agency fees’ such as a charge for gathering references e.g. from your previous landlord or your employer. Also ask about local amenities and travel links in the house’s area, so you are sure this is the sort of place you can live.
Now we come to viewings, and in most cases, you’ll have no problems. Arrange a time with the landlord, show up and ask lots of questions about the property and the people who live there. But if you’re moving to another city like me, and you don’t want to have to pay exorbitant travel charges to view rooms on multiple days, arrange all your viewings on one day instead! It’s a good idea to pick one area of the city to live in, otherwise you won’t be able to get to all your viewings in one day!
Embracing your future
This strategy is very effective, and I’m living proof. I’m happy to report that I’ve found a place to live in Manchester. I’ll be renting a room in a scenic, leafy part of Eccles – just a half hour walk from my office, from a live-in landlady who seems incredibly charming and delightful! You never know, if you follow my advice, you could find yourself with a fantastic place to live that you can really make a home!