Saturday, 28 February 2009

The Beauty of Planning (Part 1)

There are many things to plan when you begin searching for a flat. The scope for planning is almost endless in fact.

It's also a great opportunity for that twin of planning to come in to action. That twin's name is....Lists.

Aaah lists. Lists are to planning what scones are to High Tea. The perfect partner. One would not be complete without the other.

Lists are an essential part of my life. Mainly because I absolutely cannot keep track of anything in my tiny little brain. Dates and deadlines can be missed and trips to the supermarket are fraught with danger if I attempt to go without a trusty list by my side.

I'm just too easily distracted you see. Supermarkets are crammed full of bright, shiny packaged things 'on offer' and these are my downfall. I will always come back from a shopping trip with absolutely nothing I need, but very excited that I've just found a new brand of yoghurt. If I go armed with a list I will come back with a load of crap I don't need but I will at least have the things I set out to get.

So when we decided we were going to look for a flat I automatically went in search of pen and paper.

Now you have a few choices when it comes to looking for somewhere. You can either search individual letting agents websites (although this does mean you will have to know the names of individual letting agents) or you can go on one of those marvellous websites that has all the listings of all the houses from all the agents in one place.

Not if you're on one of these fancy websites it has a handy little button you can click on to save to your "favourites". Lovely. This is then where your own list comes in handy. You need the ability to be able to see all your properties, side by side, with details to allow easy comparing.

Enter......the spreadsheet. (Or a simple table in Word would do just as well.) Make yourself a table, and put in this table:
  • Location of property
  • Picture of property
  • Price
  • Estate agent - with contact details
  • Notes

The notes column should include anything you like/dislike about the property. When you're looking you will look at 100s of places that all start to merge in to one and sound very similar so anything that makes one stand out among the others should be jotted down.

Print out your list and then you have something that's easily comparable! You are then a hop, skip and a jump from narrowing down your shortlist and all the details are there for you to ring the agent and make a viewing appointment.

I know. Wow. Anyone else feeling short of breath and little excited? Me too.

Now where did I put that pen....

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