By Eadaoin Fitzmaurice
Looking for a gaff can be one of the most stressful things you will ever do, especially with the way things are going in Dublin right now. But don't worry, you will find somewhere eventually, even if it does take some time.
Here are our top tips to help you make the experience as stress-free as possible:
1. Download all of the apps
First and foremost, get on the house search by downloading all of the apps you need. Daft.ie is probably a good one to start off with and you can refine your search to what areas you want, how many beds the house has and whether or not the property has parking.
You can also turn on email notifications to make sure you are on the ball as soon as a house that suits you comes up. Trust us, 10 minutes can make a huge difference!
Apps are super handy because you can scan through them quickly and freely, wherever you may be. And the best part of all, when you finally find your dream home there is nothing more satisfying than deleting all of the apps off your phone!
2. Write out a list of what you want
Knowing what area you want to live in, whether you want a house or an apartment and how many rooms you want will cut your search in half. It's all about being on top of things and being vigilant.
It's also advisable to look at the location of the houses during your search and the bus routes available. How are you going to get to work or college? The area may be nice (or cheap!), but if it's going to take you an age or cost a fortune in bus fare to get where you want to go, maybe you need to reconsider.
Another important move is to write a list of the things you want most from the house and put them in order of preference. It's not going to be easy so you may need to sacrifice some things, be that a double bed or a few extra miles out from your desired area.
3. Find friends in a similar situation
Having a few friends in a similar boat can be great because you can pair up and search for a place together, or you can help each other out along the way.
We won't lie, finding a house can be miserable at times and you might want to give up but having a friend who understands how you feel can make you realise you're not alone.
(Cue the High School Musical chant - We're all in this together!)
If you and a friend decide to look for a place together, make sure you are on the same page and want the same things. Don't let somebody pressurise you into a house that suits them and not you.
Moving into a home is a big deal and most leases last a year. There would be nothing worse than resenting your friend in the long run because you moved in somewhere you didn't like very much for their sake.
4. Have documentation at the viewings
One of the best pieces of advice we can give to you is to be prepared. Having a photocopy of your bank statements or references from a past-landlord/employer could give you a one up on the rest of the competition. It also shows you are organised and reliable.
A good idea would be to have all of these documents, whether it's just you or a group, in a folder and to send them in an email to your potential landlord as soon as you get the chance. Be sure to seal the deal with a kickass introduction email so that they know you mean business.
5. Don't let viewings overwhelm you
Going to your very first viewing can be a bit of a shocker because the house may be crammed with other viewers or it might not look exactly like the photos. Don't let this phase you.
Make sure to introduce yourself to the landlord (first impressions are key!) and don't be afraid to check every nook and cranny. If this is going to be your new home, you want to be 100% happy with it so if you have any questions, ask them!
6. Check EVERY website
It's a simple one; be sure to check every.single.website. Your dream home might be out there without you even realising! Some estate agents keep property on their website alone and they will certainly have less applicants for that reason.
Joining rental pages on Facebook is also a great way to find a hidden gem. It will allow you to see who is living in the house, as it is usually current tenants seeking roommates. Who wouldn't want to have a little Facebook stalk of their new possible roommates?
And check local shops for notice boards as this is another great way of finding hidden gems!
7. Don't panic
This is probably the most important step, don't panic! Yes, it's going to get hard at times and you may feel as though you are losing hope but somewhere will come along soon enough!
During your search, tensions may run high and you might panic. Remember that getting a house is a big commitment and signing a lease means you will be there for some time. Be sure that you are happy with where you live.
8. Be cautious
The rental market can be a treacherous place and there are people out there who are trying to scam people out of money. If you've gotten an offer of accommodation, get the full name of the person/agency you're dealing with and check them out before transferring any money.
Always view the property before handing over a deposit and try to meet your new landlord/agent face to face - rather than dealing with them solely online. If something seems a bit dodgy, step away. When it looks too good to be true, it generally is!
When you find the right place, it will be the best feeling ever and you won't know yourself. Until then, make sure your mammy lights you a candle for luck!