how to find a flat: part 2

This entry is a continuation of my last one.

Andrew’s search for a flat started the day after he arrived in Edinburgh. Friends recommended we hire a real estate agent to expedite the process, so Andrew spent the first couple of days trying to find an agent. Andrew walked from one end of the block to the next for ten hours a day, for two days straight. He visited pretty much every single agency in Edinburgh. He ultimately went through five different agencies to see six different flats. Most of the flats he saw were “beyond atrocious”, some had cupboards made of metal grills fit for prisons, mice openings, and phone books stacked in the hall to soak up flooding.

Even if we wanted one of these apartments, most of the real estate agencies told us we’d have to secure a British guarantor (in other words, someone who would be responsible for our rent in the event we couldn’t pay it) or submit six-months worth of rent upfront. Some also required a record check, which takes around three weeks from the day on which you sign the lease to the day you move in.

Needless to say, Andrew explored alternative housing sources. Upon the recommendation of friends, he sifted through the accommodations listings on Gumtree (the British equivalent of Craigslist) and S1 Rental. He saw a few promising posts on Gumtree and immediately contacted the owners via phone and email to schedule visits. Our flat was the first he saw through Gumtree. When Andrew saw our flat, he knew that we had to live there. It was everything that we were looking for and was infinitely superior to all the other flats he had seen before. Not to mention, the flat is located in Holyrood Park and has a fantastic view of Arthur’s Seat and the Salisbury’s Crags.

Andrew unabashedly expressed his enthusiasm and love for the apartment to the landlord. She was leaning in his favor, but had already scheduled visits with other prospective renters and said she would get back to him. Andrew had also scheduled a couple of other visits, but none of the other flats matched the uniqueness and value of the first one he had seen. That same day, Andrew wrote an email to the landlord thanking her for the visit and reiterating his love for the apartment with a letter of reference attached. Upon his suggestion, I also wrote an email with a reference attached.  Fortunately, our efforts paid off, due largely to Andrew’s unbridled enthusiasm. In an email, the landlord wrote, “I had some other people looking at the flat […] and they were all keen; but I could tell that Andrew *loved* it and that tilted the balance for me.”

Once the landlord agreed to let us the flat, Andrew had to fill out an application form and tenancy agreement, as well as submit one month’s deposit and one month’s rent upfront. Andrew had to provide all this information and money the next day, but fortunately, was able to get the keys and move into the apartment the same day. This was a huge relief for Andrew since he had basically been couch surfing at friends’ houses the past couple of weeks.

Thanks to Andrew, I arrived to a beautiful, comfortable home in Edinburgh.


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