It’s that time of the year, time to find a house, very stressful and for those who are moving from University halls into a house it can be very confusing. I remember being in that position last year it was very over whelming and there isn’t really anyone to hold your hand or guide you, so your kind of on your own and you might not be sure how it all works or what to look for so here’s a little guide from my own experiences and what I’ve learnt to help you!
1. Decide on who you want to live with. Group size is the first thing you must decide when looking for a house because that is the first filter you will fill out or be asked when looking. Choose the people you live with wisely because you will share a kitchen and a bathroom with them so if you’re a clean freak and they like to leave a hairy surprise in the shower plug it’s either going to be a long year for you or it’s not going to work out. You could choose a group of 3,4,5 or even 6 to live just be 100% sure you’re happy, you could even pair up with someone and just live as a 2 because some estate agents offer 2-bedroom house shares.
2. Budget budget budget. Chose this wisely as it will determine how much money you have left to budget with for food, travel and partying next year for each week, month or semester depending on how you budget. When picking a budget also think whether you’re opting for bills included or not included. No bills included is usually cheaper however you then risk the uncertainty of how much bills will cost each week, which is just one more stress you could probably avoid next year if you opt for bills included.
3. When booking a viewing have everyone’s availability in the group and always try to arrange it so everyone can attend as no one will sign for a house they haven’t seen.
4. Read all the fine print. Look for things such as the deposit value and this can range from £0-£350, find out when you have to pay it by as some landlords may ask for it all upfront and others may allow you to pay it in installments it’s always good to ask either way, it will help you if you can pay it in instalments. Check there aren’t any hidden fee’s or agency fee’s, going with GreenPad or another university run agency will alleviate those worries as they do all the background checks and don’t have agency fee’s.
5. Consider distance and streets, always do background checks on the area and streets to see if there’s high crime in the area, try walking to your viewings from the University that way you will know roughly how long it’ll take you to get to lectures and if it’s too far/long you know that house is a no or you’ll have to get up earlier if you really love the house. Is there parking facilities and is it on or off street as if you live within 3 miles of the university you won’t be able to park your car on campus (stoke uni applicable) and if it’s on street parking do you need a permit.
There’s my top tips for house hunting, but please remember if you commit to a group of friends and viewings don’t back out it will complicate things and give whoever is organising it all a big headache, always be honest and speak up about what you want don’t wait until it’s too late to say you didn’t like the bathroom ha ha. Everyone must be happy cause at the end of the day this will be your home for next year and possibly the succeeding years if you love it.