How we found our Dublin dream flat with only one viewing. This is a guide for renting in Dublin based on our experiences.
In Part Three we talked about how to save time when you’re scrolling through the huge number of property listings. In this part, we discuss how to prepare for a viewing.
Disclaimer: Of course, we were extremely lucky to find our dream flat after only one viewing. Part of the reason we call it our dream flat is also because it is a space which meets our requirements and that we can make ours for it to be our dream flat. We also weren’t in a rush to move out so we got to be picky and research. While our tips can’t guarantee you finding a dream flat in one viewing, perhaps our process can help you speed up your flat searching progress.
Firstly, congratulations. A viewing is the first foot in the door. Even if the place doesn’t work out for you, it gives you a better idea of what’s available in your price range and if the neighbourhood would suit you.
You should also be prepared to make time for a viewing short-notice. For example, we had written to the real estate agents on the weekend and on Monday we got an invitation to the viewing the same evening. Since we went there spontaneously straight after work, they didn’t expect us to have printed copies of everything. But they did ask for digital ones the same evening.
Documents to prepare
A good preparation is essential to beat any competition who is also interested in this flat. Make sure you have digital and printed copies of any documents you may be asked for. That includes
- References of previous landlords
- Last payslip or your work contract as proof of your full-time employment
- Reference from your employer
- PPS number
- Copies of your photo IDs (e.g. passports)
- Bank statement
Questions to prepare
Write a list of questions you want to ask the landlord at the viewing, related to the property itself or the neighbourhood.
- Are the windows double glazed?
- How much can you expect electricity and gas bills to be?
- Which bills are included?
- What is the storage space like? Open cupboards and wardrobes. Can you visualize all of your things fitting in there?
- What are the appliances (stove, oven, washing machine etc.) like? Are they modern enough for how often you would use them?
Feel free to also make some small talk. At the end of the day, they want to be comfortable with you living in their flat and you want to be comfortable with the person you’re going to have to deal with.
At the end of the viewing don’t forget to ask about by when you can expect a reply. Offer to send additional supporting documents. Even if those aren’t required, make sure you have a phone number and/or e-mail address as contact details.
A word of caution on deciding on a flat
Everyone hears the stories of – if you like a place – you’re supposed to walk with the deposit and first month’s rent in cash and hand it to the agent before anyone else can get to them. Some claim, if you really want a place you should straight out offer to pay 200€ more in rent and that’s just how it’s done in Dublin. While in some cases these stories are probably true, we decided to not get pulled into the fear that this was the only way we would get a flat.
As much as landlords like to make money. We believe a good landlord won’t just hand over the place to the highest bidder. They want to make sure the people who are going to move in will keep the place tidy and not cause them any extra work, for example, by getting into fights with the neighbours. These stories were also the reason we didn’t look closer at any listings which offered open viewings. If we were to decide on the place we wanted to be able to get a good luck at and make an informed decision, rather than throw money into the wind out of fear we wouldn’t be able to find a place otherwise. As our experience proves, you don’t need to engage in those tactics to secure a flat in Dublin. So, don’t let yourself be pressured into rushing into something. Be sure about the property you are choosing and don’t settle for less than you need (not necessarily want; the keyword is need), unless you absolutely have no other choice.
In Part 5 we’ll give you some more renting in Dublin Advice for when you’ve gotten your dream flat and it’s time to hand over the keys.