How To Rent A Home You Can Love

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Most people looking for a place to rent in Ireland have two big questions looming large in their minds.

Can I afford it? and will I get it? While these are important questions, perhaps they’re not quite top of the list, longer term. According to the Good Home Report by the Happiness Research Institute, 73% of people who are happy with their home are also happy in general. It makes sense then that the first things you might be asking instead are: will I love this place? will I thrive here? Just because you’re not in a position to buy (yet!), there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be thinking of every place you look at as a potential ‘forever’ home. Why settle if there’s the option to start enjoying a house you love by putting in a little extra thought and effort? You could find the right place where you can be yourself, truly relax, and be happy now. 

Here are some things to consider…

Will you feel proud to live there?

According to the Good Home Report mentioned above, the absolute number one criteria for whether a home helps bring happiness to your life is whether you’re proud to live there. While that might seem a little superficial at first, when you think about it, it makes sense. In a world where your true home is a reflection of your personality, if you’re not happy with your home, you’re not happy with yourself. You want to be able to invite friends and family over for a drink and get a glow when they walk through the door and smile. 

Can you make the space your own?

The freedom to make a space your own will help you create a home that you’re proud of. In a rental, that’s not going to mean knocking down walls or doing bathroom renovations. However, it will likely mean hanging art, adding some indoor plants and curating furniture that’s comfortable. When looking for a place, make sure it has enough space to accommodate these prized elements. Having a good relationship with your landlord is a great way to make sure you’re both comfortable in making small cosmetic changes too. Counter to popular belief, most landlords aren’t moustache-twirling villains. They’re people. They want others to be happy in the home they’ve bought, so will often make concessions if they know it will make you more comfortable. They also know that happy tenants are more likely to pay rent on time and stay there long term. Better security for them. A better home for you. 

Will you feel secure there?

Landlords aren’t the only ones who want a sense of security. When things are stable in our lives, that flows into our mental health. If things are uncertain, that’s when anxiety kicks in. Personal safety obviously is a must for all, as is financial security. Knowing you’re in a place you won’t get kicked out of is another piece to the well-being puzzle. When looking for a place to rent in Ireland, see what options you have for longer than normal term leases (if you’re happy with locking something in). Ask the landlord what they want in a tenant and make sure your needs match up too. Being mindful of the “people” element will help everyone feel better about their choices.

Is your rental convenient for your life?

45 minutes. That’s the amount of time that’s ‘bearable’ for any commute. Studies show traveling further than that means you’re much more likely to want to move. To keep things convenient and close, always look at where your rental is in relation to your work. It shouldn’t just stop at the office either. Is it close to places you like to exercise and socialise? Are there supermarkets within easy reach? Are there good takeaway options nearby for when you’re too fried after a long day to cook (or want a special treat)? A bit of thought and foresight here can make a huge difference in finding a rental where you’ll be at peak happiness. Since good coffee = happiness to many, make sure there are at least a couple of great cafes in the area too. 

Who will live there with you?

Now that you’ve looked at the actual place you’re most likely to be happy in, you’ll want to give some thought into who’s going to live there with you. Hoping you’ll find random strangers to help pay the rent along the way is probably a poor strategy. Same for trawling Tinder for prospective housemates. Maybe you’ve got friends you know you’ll be comfortable living with? Work is another spot where you can match up with people who share at least one key criteria for home choice. The key here is to take the lead, figure out your own criteria for housemates and stick to them. It’s not just about paying the rent. It’s about sharing a vision on what makes a good home that makes all the difference.

By now, you might be thinking, this advice is all well and good, but I still need to be able to afford it and still need to get the place over other applicants. The housing market in Ireland is no fairyland. The thing is, we need to make the rental process more about our needs as tenants. We need to stand up for what we want in our ideal home and make them known to the world. Thankfully, platforms like HomeHak are flipping the script when it comes to matching renters with the right locations. HomeHak is even a great place to find other renters to team up with who share similar interests and home values as you. Check out how you can create a profile here which lists what you’re looking for in a home and guides you through creating a CV that potential landlords will jump at. 

Beyond that, finding the best rentals is about forming a well thought out plan, going about it step-by-step, and persisting when things get hard. All worthwhile things in life take time and effort. Finding a rental you love is no exception.