How would you like to live in the one of most vibrant and compact capitals in the world?

That’s right! By mixing a bit of personality with some good old copywriting – you can get people offering their spare room or apartment to you.

Apartments in Amsterdam are hard to come by due to lack available housing in the capital. Most people I had talked to, all said that’s the hardest place to find an apartment. But I’m here to share how I managed to get the luxury of choosing from a number of apartments in Amsterdam.

First some context

I needed to find a place to live in for four months in the Dutch capital. And I only had a month to find myself and arrange accommodation before my departure to the Netherlands. So you can imagine time was of the essence.

I’ve been here in Amsterdam for four months now. And never manage to stop running into people asking me how I got an apartment in Amsterdam and congratulating me on having more than one option to choose from. Apparently the Netherlands suffers from a housing shortage, yet still manage to have over around six million square meters of empty office space.

Kamernet

To get ball rolling on my apartment hunt, I used an online service that everyone seemed to be recommending – Kamernet. Basically, it’s an online place to advertise and apply for vacant apartments. You fill out a profile, find the apartments you like and send a message (application) to the person advertising the space. However to be able to send messages you need to pay a fee based on the number of messages you want to send.

The application

I approached writing my application from the perspective of the renter, and what they would want from a roommate or a tenant. Obviously, they want someone who’s friendly, trustworthy and social. But more importantly – someone who is tidy and doesn’t make a mess. Those were the cornerstones I started writing from. The application also needed to build trust between the recipient and me – so I included a little background information about myself. Don’t Worry! I kept it short.

Naturally, I didn’t want to be writing a new application to every room I was applying for. Therefore I wrote something that could be adaptable, where I only needed to change a few words or add a few sentences.

Below you’ll find the application I sent, that ultimately got me the apartment I’ve been staying at for the past four months, and a few other offers too.

Hi [NAME]

My name is Kostas and I would like to apply for your room.

I’m currently living in Finland, but a colleague of mine might be able to come view the room. But judging from your photos the place looks [ADJECTIVE]!

I would need a room for a duration of 4 months from February to May during my work placement in Amsterdam.

I’m a tidy young man with a Greek background who enjoys football, trying different coffees and exploring new cities. I also make a killer Greek salad with my Grandma’s special olive oil.

I study international business in Finland and I’m in the final year of my studies. In addition, I’m a young entrepreneur with a particular interest in technology and innovation.

If you’re looking for a social and friendly young man to rent your room to, just let me know. I look forward to hearing from you! Feel free to ask me any additional questions you may have.

Kind regards,

Kostas Papageorgiou

Breaking it down

Salutation

Always, always, address the recipient by name. Make it personal, and don’t come off as lazy by just putting, “Hi,”. If for some reason you can’t find a name, put in “Hi there,” instead.

First paragraph

First paragraph introduces who i am and why im contacting them. Plain and simple here. Just state the facts.

Second paragraph

The second paragraph explains the context of my application. And how I’m unable to personally come and view the apartment. the sentence compliments their apartment and shows the recipient your enthusiasm for renting their apartment. Everybody likes to get compliments, so make sure you include something to tell them you’d love to live there.

Third paragraph

Here is where you let your personality show. You want to ease their concerns about who you are and build trust with them. This paragraph is meant for them to get to know you better and give them idea the type of person you are. Mention what your interested in, hobbies, a little about your background and what a great roommate/tenant you’ll be.

The last sentence was the clincher for all of the replies I got. Everybody enjoyed it and is what basically sealed the apartment for me. Plus a Greek Salad is synonymous with Greece, especially with people not familiar with the cuisine.

Think of something unique that you could bring to the apartment if they chose you for their roommate/tenant. I make a killer Greek Salad, what’s your value proposition?

Call to action

Last up is the call to action. As I’ve preached in pretty much every blog post on copywriting – always have a call to action. Tell people what you want them to do, don’t leave them guessing and make it easy for them to take action.

You’ll probably have noticed the use of “I” in the application above. This is okay since it’s technically a personal message to someone and you don’t want to come as too salesy.

Time to seal the deal

When you have your application ready, it’s time to choose where you want to live, and send it off. However, make sure to look at the detail of the apartment and check if you’ll be living alone, or with roommates, and if you’re able to register with that address to the local authorities – that is if you’re planning on staying longer for four months.

After you’ve sent out the applications. It’s time to wait for the replies and organize the practicalities of viewing agreeing a time to view the place, visiting it, negotiating the rent and deposit, etc.

You’re all probably wondering, do I really make a killer Greek Salad? I sure do!