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A quick introduction to begin with, I am usually called Bamisen or Bamsky, a living spontaneous Indonesian guy who is about to study in Lancaster University, UK this October. I believe that there are many other people are preparing their study in the UK whether for this year’s intake or next one’s. It has come to my understanding that a conducive and supportive living ecosystem is necessary for living creature. All of us have our own preferences when it comes to moving to a new place for a quite long period of time. Therefore, I would like to share my experience in finding an ideal and affortable accomodation in the UK.
This article would share my experience in finding a cozy liveable place without having tore your pocket. My journey of searching an accommodation began in May 2015. Back at the time, I was so anxious about finding a new place to stay during a priod of my study in Lancaster University. I am so picky when it comes to a place to stay. I wanted to have a place which I can call it “home”. A place where I can feel so comfortable to do whatever I want and to have people coming over. Not to mention, I also hate living alone. So, there are two major factors became my concern; the place and housemate(s). You can find perfect nice house, yet it won’t simply assure your housemate(s) condition.
I started using various websites to search; gumtree.co.uk, spareroom.mobi, spareroom.co.uk, uk.camelot.com, rightmove.co.uk and lusu.co.uk/living – a website provided by Lancaster Student Union. I spent two hours per day in front of my computer clicking tons of ads on those sites. After two weeks doing such boring and tiring activity, I got nothing I desired. Then, I kept googling about renting websites. Voila! I found houshare.com. At the beginning, I was not really enthusiastic about using that site as I thought there would not be any different. But, I was wrong. Houseshare.com was really useful. It has user friendly interface as well as many optional columns where you can write your preferences which other sites don’t have, i.e. housemate(s) criteria and amenities preferences. Other than that, it also provides you with “buddying up” option which enables you to find people with similar housing criteria as yours. Not to mention, all credential of advertisers are very well disclosed. While other housing sites usually require you to be a premium member to have a look such information.
Now, how to use houseshare.com to satisfy your housing needs. First of all, you need to sign up (well off course, you need to open, houseshare.com in your browser :p). Once the webpage is loaded, click login button.
Then you will see a new page asking your log in ID. Just ignore it, look for a small square on your right with a tittle “New User?”. Just click “registration” and fill out the forms.
After you completed your registration, just hit red button “Register”.
Voila! You are ready to start searching for your new home.
Now, let’s talk about about how to find your desirable accomodation in houseshare.com. The web provides you with two options actually. Option number one, you can just casually use search option by clicking “search” menu on top of the page and just fill your preferences there.
I suggest you to use an advance search. In that way, you would get more specified ads based on your particular desire.
After you made your choice, just simply click “search”. Using option one is actually faster and easier, because you could get tons of relevant ads just by one click. In my case, I spent like more or less two hours exploring from one ad to another until I found some interesting ones. Then, I just put them on my bookmark list so I could take a look more thoroughly later.
Option number two, you can create an ad about room you are looking for. You can make it by clicking my ad(s) menu on top of the page. Afterwards, click “Place a Room Wanted advert” in My Room Wanted Listings section and then just follow the steps.
If you are interested to find other users with similar housing criteria as yours, you may also click “I/we are also interested in Buddying up option”.
What is “Buddying up”? it is an option which enables you to find users with similar preferences so you can share the accomodation. In other words, that feature could help you in finding a housemate(s).
In step 2, you will be required to fill in more option. “Housemate matching” seemed interesting to me somehow.
In houseshare.com, you basically can also choose with what kind of person(s) you want to stay with. Do not be lazy to write full description about what kind of room you are looking for, as well as hosemate you might fancy in the description coloumn. Not to mention, kindly write an eye catchy title about your ad, i.e. Georgeous Tanned Asian Guy Looks for Room in Manchester. Just go crazy and untypical to name your ad.
Once you finish step 2, just hit a red button “Finish”. Hold On! You need to pay attention one last thing before you do so. “Email Alert” Be sure on how you want to be notified once the machine finds suitable ad(s) for you. If you are in a rush, just choose more frequent notification.
Basically both methods could work properly for you. However, option number two could provide you with more updated ad(s) information even if you are not online in houseshare.com. In my case, I used both options.
Now, let me share some more things in searching your accomodation in houseshare.com. Be aware of who is the advertiser! Whether it is a landlord or an agent. Additionally, sometimes it also shows you that the advertiser is current or former housemate. Why is it important? An agent usually quite strict with rules and will ask you to pay deposit as soon as possible with no compromise in order to secure your room. Making some arrangements also quite hard with an agent. Similar condition might also apply to current and former housemate. A landlord is usually open to any arrangement and negotiation, including, but not limited to,paying your deposit as well as terms of contract before hand. Addtionally, there are two kind of landlord; a live in or live out landlord. Live in Landlord means that the landlord will be your housemate as well, while live out landlord means otherwise.
Let’s say now you have found several matched ads. What you can do next, is spamming. Yes “spamming”. Now, you can start sending message(s) to the advertisers. What you should write? Start with short introduction about yourselves, what you are going to do in the UK and why you are interested in the ad. On the next paragraph, you can write about how you would keep the house tidy, clean and liveable. You can alsorelate your past experiences to this regard. Afterwards, you can write about your habits on daily basis as well as what you fancy doing for a weekend or how you would love to enjoy your spare time with your housemates. If you have ever created memories with your past housemates, feel free to elaborate your story as well. To conclude your message, let them know how you prefer to be reached and ask them for some more photos about the house and the room. Do not forget to leave your social media ID, so they can take a look further about you and, also, it helps to build trust to begin with.
In my case, I started by introducing myself and what am I going to do in Lancaster. It, then, followed by my short story on how I managed to keep my previous house clean, tidy and liveable by sharing the burden with my three other housemates. Not to mention, how familiar I am in living with multicultural people. Further, I also stated how I would like to pay the rent because of my scholarship term. I also explained that I am not able to do viewing as I am still located in Indonesia. Lastly, I left my instagram ID and asked my landlord to make an appointment for a Skype call. After sending messages, I used to wait untill three days. When I did not get any response, I just called the advertisers and told him/her that I am interested in renting the room I found thru houseshare.com. Furthermore, I also told them that I sent message to their inbox in houseshare.com.
During the Skype call, I asked many questions about the house, neighborhood, potential housemate, having guest(s) sleeping over, payment method, decorating my room, etc. At the end, I got a very nice two story house as my new home in Lancaster, Lancashire, UK with only £300 per month including bills which I can pay in a three monthly installment. Other than that, I also share the house with a 26-yrs old friendly land lord and a good friend of mine. This is a view from my room:
All in all, looking for home is, indeed, not an easy task. However, when there is a will, there is a way. That is all I can share for now. Remember, you are looking for a home not a mere house made out brick and concrete. Your comfort shall come first. Shall you have further queries, feel free to leave a comment. I would be pleased to help you.
“Understand what you need and want, and pay attention on detailed offer”