Following the new year, students are beginning the struggle of looking for somewhere to live through their second and third year of study. We have come up with 15 tips which we believe will help you find a perfect next home while you finish your studies.
Work out your monthly rent budget and make sure all your future housemates agree on one.
Understand that your other housemates might not have the same access to funds as you do every month. So, you need to agree on a price together which you can all realistically afford.
Choose your housemates wisely.
Even if they are your best friends, it is difficult living in such close proximity to others. It can be the best thing, but also the worst if you fall out. Make sure you are comfortable with those you choose, and remember a lot can change between the time you agree to move into a house and the day you move in.
Get out and have a look at some houses.
The only way you are going to find somewhere to live next year is by going out and looking. That means not putting it off until a few weeks before! Try and book several viewings in one day so that you can compare houses easily and so that more likely to find one.
Think about location of your house.
How far is the house from uni? Is it walkable? Is the walk uphill? Will you have to walk up it with two full bags of shopping? How far is it from the centre of town? Will you be able to walk to and from evenings out? The answers to these questions may determine how enjoyable your uni experience will be, so make sure you think about the house’s location before you sign a contract.
Avoid places with damp and dirt.
Nobody wants to live in a house like a squat. So, make sure when you look around you watch out for areas of mould and dirt. As well as this being unpleasant, it may determine whether you get your deposit back when you move out. If they can blame you for it getting worse or for not ventilating the room properly, they may keep your deposit.
Make sure the water, heating and electricity is all working fine.
When you are looking around ask the agent, that’s what they are there for. Also, make sure you turn on all the lights, flush the toilets and turn on the showers. This can stop you getting caught out after you move in.
Are bills included in your monthly rent? What other payments will you have to make?
If you can get a house that only requires one payment a month instead of 5, you are less likely to be stressed and will be able to keep a better track of your money. The agency will only charge you a set amount for each monthly use of electricity, water and heating. The means you won’t have any surprises from excessive bills which you won’t be able to pay.
What appliances and furnishings will be included?
Ask the agent what furnishings and appliances are included with your tenancy. Make sure you have a desk and chair to sit and do your work, a wardrobe to hang your clothes in, and sufficient kitchen appliances to cook food with.
Talk to the current tenants about their experience.
If the tenants are in the house while you are looking around, make sure you have a chance to talk to them about their experience of living in the house. The agency might not be completely truthful with what they tell you. You will get a much more realistic picture from the current residents.
Are the neighbours nice? Are you going to be disturbing them with noise?
Are you the type to be partying until the early hours of the morning? If so, you are better off living in a more student heavy area of town, rather than next door to a young family. This will stop any tension and issues between you and your neighbours.
Could you imagine yourself living there?
Think about what it would look like with all of your things in it. Can you picture your stuff in the house? In your room? If not, it’s probably not the right house for you.
Don’t just choose the first house you look at.
You have plenty of time to look. Whether you look at one or twenty, you will find the right house for you. Don’t just rush into signing a contract for a house that isn’t right just because you are desperate to find somewhere to live.
Choose a house that is with a good agency.
Are they easy to get in contact with? Are they reliable? What experiences have others had with them? If you need help or have an issue, you need to be able to get hold of the letting agents. If they aren’t helpful, you are likely to have a stressful experience.
Read the contract and other information thoroughly, maybe even ask an adult to look through it.
Make sure you are aware of the terms and conditions that you have to abide by. You don’t want to have an issue with breaking the contract if you haven’t read the contract.
Make sure you have a reliable guarantor.
When taking on a tenancy, you are required to have a guarantor – someone to pick up the bill if you are unable to pay for whatever reason. If you are unable to give the details of a family member or close friend, there are agencies and ways of sorting someone to help.
Now you should be ready to find a perfect house for you and your friends, making sure you really enjoy the rest of your time at university.