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Friday 31 August 2012

A Guide For First-Time Hosts

Top Tips To Welcome Your Guest Into Your Home:

We keep on hearing from both guests and hosts how much they loved their renting experience through Flat-Club. In order to ensure that you have an equally enjoyable time, we've decided to compile a list of other hosts' top tips on the best way to prepare your home for a guest. Whether hosting or being hosted, it is clear that a warm welcome and a comfortable environment are the key factors to renting success. That is why we want to share with you, from a first-hand point of view, the most effective steps you can take to make your guest feel at home and for both of you to get the most out of this exciting and unique experience. And don't forget, through becoming a host you could make a substantial amount of extra money!

Arrange your home. It would be great if you could leave some surfaces bare and some cupboards, drawers and/or wardrobe empty for your guest. This will allow them to tidy away some of their own things, making them feel more comfortable in your home as well as ensuring that their belongings don’t get in your way. If you have personal possessions that you don’t want your guests to touch, make sure you let them know in advance. It is also crucial that you leave your place clean and tidy, as this will encourage your guest to do the same on their departure; a win-win situation!

Leave instructions. It’s a good idea to provide your guest with information on how to use certain amenities in your flat. This will not only improve your guest’s experience in your home but it will also give you peace of mind that all will go smoothly in your absence. In particular, you might want to leave instructions for WIFI access, the T.V./DVD player, the telephone and the washer/dryer. You may also want to remind your guest to ensure that they turn off the heating/air-conditioning when leaving your house; both your bills and the environment will thank you and your guest!

Provide a comfortable bed and clean, crisp linens. Ensuring that your guest is given a good quality bed will not only make them feel welcome in your home but will also allow them to gain a peaceful night’s sleep, undoubtedly improving their overall holiday experience. Providing clean towels for your guest is also a good idea.

Leave some books, DVDs or magazines. Regardless of the time of year or the location of your home, we’re sure that your guest will really appreciate being able to enjoy these items. A book is the perfect accompaniment to a drink in the sun, whilst films are a great way to spend a cosy evening in. If you will be sharing your flat with your guest, books or films are also a great common topic of conversation, helping you to get to know each other better.

Provide details of local attractions. Leaving your guest a few tips on your favourite local café, restaurant or pub, the best shopping area or popular nearby attractions will be a great way of introducing your guest to your area, helping them to make the most out of their holiday and your neighbourhood. Practical information such as the location of the grocery store or local transport links would also be useful.
Fill the fridge. Providing your guest with a few necessities would be a lovely welcome to your guest on the first night. Milk, bread, fruit and other possible basic foods would allow your guest to settle quickly into your home.

Finishing touches. Finally, in order to make your flat exceptionally attractive to your guests, you could always branch out and buy some fresh flowers to decorate your kitchen or living room. A box of chocolates or a bottle of wine would also be a welcoming gesture to your guest, ensuring that both of you get the most out of your flat

Ready to make the most out of your home? Post your flat on Flat-Club today! In order to attract the maximum number of guests to your posting, it's important to also join a club.
Alternatively, if you already have some tips on how you like to welcome your guest, email us at and we'll add them to the list!

Friday 24 August 2012

Flat-Club Joins TechHub And Google Campus!

We, at Flat-Club, have recently moved out of our London Business School (LBS) office base and into TechHub, an innovative co-working space incorporated into Google Campus. This relocation is not only extremely exciting for us at Flat-Club but it is also testament to how far we have grown and developed as a company over the past 12 months.

Being a part of the LBS Incubator Programme has been invaluable for us. We have had continuous access to office space and resources from LBS, which has been crucial for helping us to progress as a company. From the start, we gained a support base of LBS students and alumni, giving us a sense of direction and allowing us to network, collaborate and learn in an entrepreneurial environment. Being incorporated into the LBS Incubator Programme meant that we could also build a positive reputation quickly.

As a result, Flat-Club has managed to expand rapidly and successfully. Over the past year at LBS, the team has grown from 2 to 15 whilst the number of flats on our site has soared from 5 in London to more than 2,000 in over 20 major cities worldwide. We have also succeeded in attracting important media attention, for example with The Guardian , Forbes and The Financial Times as well as managing to secure Series A Funding from Venture Capital and private investors. Furthermore, we won the TechCrunch One-Sentence Pitching Challenge , we were selected as a finalist in The Pitch80 UK Best Small Business Competition and we were also chosen as one of the top 100 start-up companies in the UK. One of our most recent blog posts represents the largest database of European start-up competitions and has subsequently received a lot of encouraging reviews from entrepreneurs - you can read it here .

As our CEO Nitzan Yudan has explained, “Flat-Club would never grow so quickly without the support of LBS community. From the initial business plan to raising finance – we get excellent advice from faculty. The alumni network and especially the Active Startup Forum on portal are a great source of inspiration as well as support in bootstrapping administration and technical challenges”. It is clear, therefore, that we have a lot to thank LBS for.

Whilst we remain very firmly within the parameters of the LBS Incubator Programme, we have now grown so much as a company that we are branching into more networks and facing fresh challenges. This is why we have made the exciting move into the TechHub office, which is a part of Google Campus. The entrepreneurship community at TechHub allows us to share advice and ideas with other like-minded small businesses, offering more inspiration and inciting more energy among us on a daily basis. In this new innovative space we can collaborate with other inspiring people and expand our network even further, creating the perfect environment for Flat-Club to continue to grow in a positive direction.

We are hard workers at Flat-Club. But, we can also play hard. TechHub appreciates this and therefore provides its community with a bit of time for socializing on the side. There is a ping pong table to encourage a bit of healthy colleague-to-colleague competition during lunchtime. There are also several opportunities for the start-up teams to get to know each other in the communal kitchen or over a pizza and beer after work.

As you can see, we are very excited about our relocation. Flat-Club has progressed quickly over the past 18 months. From a kitchen as an office at its initial beginnings, to the LBS Incubator space and now to TechHub, we are continuing to move in the right direction. We can’t wait to get stuck into new challenges and progress even further in our innovative and inspiring new home.

If you're relocating soon, we can help with that! Our Expert Search is a free service that helps you to find your perfect accommodation. Or search for yourself on our site and get in touch with one of our great hosts.

Friday 17 August 2012

A Relocation Guide To Berlin

As part of our program to help you when relocating to a new city, we are launching today a relocation guide to Berlin, written by the people who moved and lived there.

Before you go

  • Make sure that you have all your important documentation on hand and ready to go, including: visa, passport, photo ID and health card.
  • If you are a citizen of the EU/EEA, you do not need a Visa to enter Germany for a stay that’s less than 90 days. Your passport, lease agreement and local registration will suffice for an extended stay.
  • Certain nationalities - Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States – do not require a visa to enter Germany for visits less than 90 days. Longer visits will require a residency, student or work permit.
  • All other nationalities require a visa to enter Germany.
  • The language barrier can be a problem if you do not speak German. Many Germans speak English, but this is not universal. It is therefore good to brush up on some German phrases prior to your departure.
  • Before you leave home, it is a good idea to arrange for short-term accommodation in Berlin, to give you somewhere to stay whilst you search for more permanent housing. Take a bit of cash in the local currency with you to cover your initial expenses until your bank account is set up.
Useful links:

Finding a place

  • Take time to become familiar with different areas so that you can make the best choice possible on where to live.
  • In most instances, you will need to provide a deposit equal to 1 or 2 month’s rent when you settle on a lease.This deposit is refundable, minus any damages, upon your departure.
  • The average cost of rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in Berlin is €495 a month, with utilities averaging about €135 a month.

Setting up a bank account

  • Most major German banks have branches located in Berlin.
  • You must be a resident, student or a citizen of the EU/EEA to legally open a bank while staying in Berlin.
  • In addition to residency, you will also need to provide your passport and proof of address (such as a lease agreement). If you are a student, you will need to provide documentation that validates your student status.
  • In addition to your bank account, you will want to ensure that you receive a EuroCheque Card that will enable you to obtain cash from ATM and other benefits.

Health Insurance

  • Health care system features a legal mandate for all citizens to possess either government sponsored or private health insurance.
  • If you intend to work or maintain a resident status in Berlin, you are legally required to enroll in health insurance coverage. You can choose to use health insurance you already possess from home; however you will have to investigate whether or not your personal coverage meets German guidelines.
  • Health care benefits associated with the European Health Insurance Card are valid in Berlin.
Useful Links:

Staying safe

  • Memorize emergency phone numbers and have them programmed into your cell phone.
  • The emergency number for the police (polizei) is 110 and for fire (feuerwehr) and ambulance (rettungswagen) services, 112.
  • Always keep your cell phone handy and on your person when you are away from home.
  • Being aware of your surroundings at all times is the best way to remain safe.
Useful Links:
  • Berlin Police Department,
  • European Emergency Services
  • Travelling Around

    • Berlin’s Public Transport Authority (BVG) issues a standard ticket for all of its transportation options. Additionally, most public employees speak English, which can be helpful when traveling about the city.
    • A standard fare of €2.30 will grant you access to the U-Bahn, the S-Bahn, and/or metro bus.
    • Tickets can be purchased from automated teller machines that are readily available at numerous and convenient locations.
    • Taxis are another convenient mode of transportation in Berlin. Most taxi drivers speak English as well. Standard taxi rates begin between € 3.00 and € 3.50.
    • Cycling is also a popular and fun way to get around Berlin. Many residents opt for this particular mode of transportation and there are many bike paths that wind their way through Berlin. You can rent a bicycle for as little as €7.50 a day.
    Useful Links: