I know it may seem a little soon, but by now you can definitely start looking into getting your student house for next year. There are’t that many guides around just with some tips on how to do this, so here at Student Life Guide we thought we could lend a helping hand, advising you on how to chose your flatmates through to always making sure that you go on viewings.
Choose your flatmates wisely
This is by far the most important factor to consider when looking into getting your second year student house. You do not want people dropping out left right and centre, or people moaning that they won’t make it to any of the viewings, or people that are just dam right lazy and make you do all the planning, before literally just moving in and getting on with it- it happens!
Make that sure you actually like these people, think long and hard, do I want to live with them? Do you really get on that much? Are they simply a friend for fresher’s week? This may sound a little harsh but by recognizing issues such as this so early on, you can avoid very awkward conversations later down the line. Trust me, it’s not fun sneaking out for a house viewing whilst trying to avoid your neighbour finding out. Decide whether you have really gelled with your current hall mates or if you would like to live more with your course pals. These groups are usually very different and often have negatives and positives. Simply weigh up both sides and go from there.
Just remember, living with your good mates is brilliant, so pick ’em wisely!
Set your budget
Make sure that everyone in the group decides on a budget, it may be okay for you to be paying a certain amount, yet someone else in the group may struggle to, so meet in the middle, pick a sum that works for everyone and then go from there. Also, remember that some houses offer a contract where bills are included and others definitely do not, so do not be fooled by a cheap sounding rent, as usually the bills can mount up to more than an all inclusive contract! Personally, I feel that all inclusive contracts are great! My fairy lights were on non stop and I had really clean clothes because I wasn’t scared about putting on the washing machine, we also had a pretty tidy house because the dishwasher was on non stop. Basically, for a rather stress free existence energy wise, all inclusive worked for me, it could work for you!
Do your research
Please do your research, find out the average rent prices in the area to make sure basically that you do not get ripped off! By knowing the standard charge, you are in a strong position to question the landlord on what makes this house less or more than the average cost. Speaking of landlords, just make sure you do not get an absolutely vile person, because they are out there. My landlords last year were very pleasant, easy to reach on the phone, and usually sorted out issues on the day that they happened, I know this is hard to tell if you have just met them, so just make sure they are polite and kind. Sometimes, landlords believe that students are less in terms of knowledge of houses and sales, so don’t be a victim and ask all the questions that you want. It may be a great idea to also check out the landlord’s information, see if they have any feedback or if anyone has had any problems with them in the past, go on- do a bit of digging! It may pay off, if they have a track record of refusing to give back deposits, maybe find someone else!
Please think about location…
I have been to some lovely lovely houses in my time as a student, for incredible prices too, the only issue is that they are around 40 minutes walk from a bus stop and about an hour away from civilisation…
Look, it will still be second year and you are going to need to be getting into university most days, not to mention to the shops or to see friends, you need to make sure that your house is in the middle of everything- and even if it isn’t, at least make sure that there is a bus stop very close by! By ensuring public transport links you can hop on the bus and get into town easily, even if you do live a little further away than usual. It can be a really awful feeling finally getting off the bus after a long day of lectures and realising that you still have around thirty more minutes to walk in order to get to your house. Trust me, it can be soul destroying.
Please go to viewings!
I cannot stress enough how important this is, trust me, sales sites can be very flattering of pretty awful houses, the images may also have been taken a few years ago, meaning that several groups of students have now been through that house, so you need to go and check out the scene for yourself. This may also be a great time to check out little added extras, for example, search around for somewhere to put bikes if people in your house ride them, or see if there is a dishwasher for all the scrubbing plate avoiders. Check for mould! Even the smallest bit could mean bad insulation and leaks, so not the best! My group were all really excited about a house yet when we went- it was absolutely awful! The handrail on the stairs fell off as we gripped it to walk down the incredibly steep steps into a very dingy basement. Hmm, safe to say, we didn’t live there.
When it comes to house hunting, it can be tricky to make sure that everyone is happy. Despite this, if the house isn’t falling apart at the timbers or if there isn’t mould growing into the walls; if there’s hot water and functioning appliances, you should be just fine, good luck!