Flat-hunting tool: Evernote

So I’m flat-hunting. With Evernote.

How does this work?

I get daily alerts

I’ve signed up for SpareRoom’s early bird service, so I can be allowed to contact adverts that were posted on the same day. Every day, I get emails with all the new adverts that meet my criteria. I’ve set up searches, and requested that any new hits be sent to me.

and contact people with a canned message

Any flat that is of interest to me, I send my canned (yes, this is necessary, I need to be quick) response along the lines of “hello, I’m moving because A, I need a room like B, I have hobbies C, can I see the room on D?”. If the advert has anything interesting, I’ll edit my canned reply to refer to that item. Then I wait for replies. About 4/10 people do reply. A very poor return. And I then endeavour to go see the flats / rooms that are of interest. That’s when Evernote kicks in.

adding the flats to see to an evernote notebook

When I know I am going to go see a flat, I will add all the relevant information into Evernote, as well as an appointment to my calendar. I will copy paste all the photos from the site, (I _love_ how you can copy paste instead of having to save the image and then add it in!!) add in a screenshot of the map so I’ll know where the place is, and then any other text details I might have. Like the address, the contact’s name and phone number, and how much rent and bills cost. I also add the total cost (or £xxx+bills) in the title of the note as well. This means I end up with notes looking like this.

Screen Shot 2013-02-01 at 22.16.03

And this makes it easier to have all the information I need on the go, without the necessity of an internet connection. I do pay Evernote for that particular privilege. It makes it easier to find the places, get in touch with the people, and then add in notes about costs, travel time, and other tidbits.

how does it end?

After I’ve seen a place I’ll correct the rent amount in the title, to include bills, so that all notes have the same benchmark. After I’ve seen enough in a day or week, I’ll also add a “YES” or “NO” in the title to mark whether I thought I could live in that place or not. I’ll contact the “NO”s and tell them the place did not suit. And of course I’ll ask the “YES” to let me live in the place.
After seeing 10 places, I have one “YES”. Sadly they gave the place to a couple… despite first texting me that it was mine. Happily, I saw both texts at the same time, and was less disappointed.
How do I know it’s 10 places? To keep track of what I’ve seen, and in which order, I number the notes. I also tend to use the names of people to tell the places apart, as I’m better with those than with street names.