The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
For her first article, Maddi shares her top tips for house-hunting for students, looking for places to move into during their second and third years. As many of us know, choosing houses and flatmates can be very tricky – but after reading Maddi’s advice – we hope you feel a little more comfortable about it!
For students, this particular time of year tends to be more demanding than others. As the days grow colder and the imminent deadlines build up, the additional burden of finding a second or third year house is something we could really do without. Far too many students are blinded by the pressure of trying to secure a house as fast as they can, when in reality, this frantic mindset is only detrimental – trust me, I know from personal experience.
Although you may think the nice house on Derby Road that you’ve had your eye on ticks all the boxes – however, big bedrooms and a clean kitchen aren’t the only things that matter. In fact, you may not realise some things are important until it’s too late. So by giving you the help I wish I had, this checklist covering important yet commonly unrecognised features to look out for should help you avoid any unwelcome surprises before signing a contract.
Missing a kettle? Rather than wasting money on buying one yourselves, ask for a full inventory list of what is expected to come with the house. Most pieces of furniture and kitchen appliances are included, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s down to you to replace them if they’re absent.
Helpful Landlords / Estate Agents
So you’ve checked the list and realised that said kettle is missing… only for it to be replaced 4 months later, after the landlord has ignored all your messages and calls. Using a respectable, cooperative housing company is essential in getting the right help when things inevitably go wrong. Check reviews. Ask other students’ about their experiences.
Although you may be impressed at how spacious some of the rooms appear, is that just because there’s an incredibly small wardrobe or lack of drawers? Space to put your things is essential to avoid having the majority of your belongings shoved in the corner all year in a messy pile.
Proximity to Campus / Shops
Okay, so you’ve found a house with the full inventory list present, useful landlords and more storage space than you need… but it’s an hour’s walk away from campus and the nearest food shop in sight is Jimbos (if you don’t know, keep it that way). That extra time in bed before you have to get up for your 9am lecture, or knowing that there’s a Lidl or Sainsbury’s right round the corner can make all the difference.
The cheaper the house, the better, right? Not always. The face value price may not reveal all the hidden expenses you have to pay on top of that, like WiFi, TV licenses or parking permits, that can actually amount to a lot more than expected. Be sure to ask if there are any added costs you’re expected to pay. Having a bills-included contract is also easier in my opinion, as rather than having to remember to manually pay them when due, this is already covered.
Length of Contract
Speaking of bills, the last thing you want to be doing is paying them when you can’t even live in the house yet. It’s not ideal to have an extremely long contract that greatly overlaps with the accommodation you’re already staying, meaning you’ll end up paying virtually double! Alternatively, really short contracts are not the answer either. If your current contract ends with months in between entering the new one, you may have to lug every single thing you own from university back home, and then back again. Try to find a medium.
Happy house hunting!