We love decorating rentals, and have become experts in the field. But when it comes to actually finding your perfect rental things can get a little tricky - especially in London. We asked Alex Eid, rental market guru and CEO of Homie - the property tech startup that is changing the way renters find homes in London - to give us his expert advice for finding the perfect home in the Capital.
1 | Why did you found Homie?
“My overall mission when founding Homie was to make it easier for everybody to move and live like a local. The idea came when I helped a friend move from Paris to London a few years ago. He had 1 day to spare to research where to live, book viewings and put down an offer. It was hard for him - not only did he have a time constraint but he had no knowledge of how renting in London worked. I wondered why a service hadn’t already been created to help people in their home search.”
2 | You yourself are a renter - how long have you lived (and rented) in London, and where has been your favourite place to live?
“I’ve rented in London for 10 years and have lived across the city: Mile End, Victoria, Kensington and Richmond to name just a few. Living in Mile End for me was one of my favourite renting experiences. I was a student at the time, I was surrounded by restaurants, bars and shops - the area had such a buzz and a really international vibe.”
3 | Would you say renting in London has changed in the past decade?
“Without a doubt. Renting has become more difficult. The number of portals and estate agents (both on and offline) has hugely increased - there is so much noise in the rental market. Although there has been a lot of buzz and innovation in the industry, it happens to solely take place on the enterprise side, meaning all the new product and services help the estate agents and landlords, and not the renters. That’s why Homie was founded - to empower renters by giving them the knowledge they need to finding a home that suits their every need.”
4 | Now let’s get down to business: What can renters do to get the best value for money?
“Always start with a preferred area. A good way to pinpoint them is by taking your commute time into consideration. For example, if you are looking at West London - and Notting Hill or Holland Park are out of your price range - Shepherd’s Bush (Central line) and Hammersmith (District, H&C and Piccadilly line) are just as vibrant and far better connected.
“Another tip is to take a look at ground floor flats. These have a tendency to be cheaper - especially in terms of the space you are getting - and often boast higher ceilings and outdoor space.”
5 | Once you’re ready to start viewing properties, what are your top tips for flat searching like a pro?
“Firstly, have your paperwork ready to go. The London rental market moves extremely quickly so readiness is key when securing your new place. A holding deposit of two weeks rent is often required to secure a property, so make sure you have the funds to pounce as soon as you see a property you love!
“A cheeky trick to differentiate yourself from other potential renters is adding a bit of personalisation to your offer. Send over a short bio about yourself so the landlord can get a sense of who you are and what you do. It's a people business, so speaking to the person on the other end as opposed to just sending an offer could make all the difference.”
How it works:
Sign up and chat to a friendly home finder (aka Homie) assigned to you. In an on-boarding call your Homie will answer any questions you may have.
Your Homie will search the market and only upload homes to your profile that they think you will love.
View all your favourite homes back-to-back in a handy 2-hour viewing tour booked by your Homie. They will be there along the way with a taxi to pick you up.
Found the one? Submit your offer straight from the Homie app!