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Flat-hunting in Edinburgh is like online dating but with an even less satisfactory result

You soon learn there’s no such thing as the perfect match

Joining university last September, I knew that at some point in the not-so-distant future I would have to face the terrifying prospect of finding a home for second year and assuming all responsibilities you are protected from in the cosy environment of student halls, like bills and crappy landlords.

However, what no one can prepare you for is the sheer brutality of flat hunting and the pressure you feel when it reaches late March and you don't have a home.

The ritual of checking all property websites at least once a day takes hold and you become a person possessed, with email alerts and flat viewings hitting you from all directions. The more you sit with your flatmates and compare pics and prices the more you realise that picking a flat is just like picking a prospective partner.

You try to keep expectations as low as possible

There is no point going into this process with only one image in mind, that of a bay window complete with cosy armchair and reading lamp, at the end of a room about the length of a small swimming pool with a wall tapestry hanging behind the bed and bedding taken straight from the Urban Outfitters website.

Let’s get real, unless you want to sell your kidney (a prospect that is honestly becoming more and more attractive) it’s time to turn away from this daydream.

Realistically the only requirement for a bedroom is that you can fit a bed in it, not a medium sized yoga class. So, you lower your expectations, maybe it doesn’t look the best from all angles, the bio is a bit limited, or it has a box room. Surely, it’s better to be open minded?

"I always find beauty in things that are odd and imperfect – they are much more interesting." – Marc Jacobs

You send one message and suddenly you have a stalker

You were desperate, it was late one night, you panicked … and signed up for email alerts for any four-bed flat in Edinburgh that came on the market. If you were really desperate you did this for multiple estate agents and now you have incessant messages and you have no idea how to unsubscribe and get out.

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My No.1 fan

Take a gamble with a mystery match

You know the type, a relatively good price in a great area and all the requirements. But only one picture, and it’s a dodgy one of the street outside – you can’t even tell which one it is, the one on the left or right? Do you take a gamble and swipe right? Inevitably you’ll go to the viewing and see it in person and realise there was a reason for no pictures.

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Which one are you?! Floor also unspecified.

Last minute cancellations are soul destroying

This one is simple, if you get as far as making plans, please keep to them and don't get our hopes up and then dash them!

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You feel really left out if you don't have one yet

Is it me or do all conversations from February to end of Semester 2 revolve around flats – have you got one yet? How much? How did you find it? Where? Any pics? If you haven’t found the right one yet you sit through literally hours of conversation to which you cannot contribute.

You are given reassurance that you will find the right one bit you can't help feeling left out. On the bright side, it gives you plenty of time to figure out whose flat is the best for hosting pres and which living room in Tollcross will be the best to crash in after an ATIK Friday.