Since leaving home at about 17, I'd say I've moved over 10 times. I've been in my current flat for 4 years, and will be moving shortly, so I thought I'd share some of my house hunting tips!
1. Be realistic with your budget, not being able to afford your rent is a pretty miserable place to be.
2. You may have to make choices about what is most important to you. Do you need to be near transport links? Do you want a social house, or a quieter one? Do you need a lot of storage? Do you need to be near a high street? Do you need parking? You may not get everything, you need to work out what is more crucial than others.
3. Its pretty tough to afford to live alone if you're not in a couple, a compromise can be renting a large bedroom in a shared house, so you at least have a lot of personal space. If you can stretch to it, some large bedrooms come with an ensuite, which adds to the feeling of solo living.
4. There are perks to renting with an agency, but also cons. If cost is high on your list, you may want to limit your search to private only to get more bang for your buck..
5. Try to use your move as a good time to declutter. Do you love that stuff enough to box it up, carry it and unpack it? Moving is always easier with less stuff. Decluttering is good for the soul too.
6. You really do get more choice if you're able or willing to move further out, if you don't mind a commute (more time to read books and answer emails) you may decide the cheaper rents/bigger spaces are worth it for you.
Let me know if you have any tips!