The time for house hunting has rolled around once again and it can be a really stressful time. Bear these things in mind and you’ll have no trouble finding the ideal place!
Don’t just ‘settle’ with a house because it’s the easiest option/first one you’ve seen/your friend likes it/whatever other reason. You’ll be living there for a year, which feels like a reeeaaally long time in the wrong place. Shop around and get a good idea of what’s on the market before signing.
Look out for the boring (but essential) things such as:
If the current tenants are in don’t be shy. Ask what it’s like living in the house, how do they find bills, what’s the landlord like (do they fix things quickly? are they reasonable?) It can feel awkward and like you’re invading their space but their insights can be helpful! Some places can look great at first but be awful to live in.
Consider how close the house is to local amenities. Is the corner shop expensive, would being closer to a supermarket be better? Are you too close to a noisy main road? Are you close enough to the university? Travel links? Can you really convince yourself to get out of bed on a chilly winter morning to cycle to your 9am lecture? I know I definitely can’t – living next to the metro station is ideal for me.
As much as you should choose where to live based on your own preferences, you may want to consider where abouts your other friends are getting places. Otherwise you could end up spending a lot of money on travel, time on walking between houses, or not seeing them as often as you might like.
Think carefully about how much you can afford to spend on rent – the nicer places in the best locations will obviously cost more. However, also consider the cost of bills on top of the basic rent cost. Or, would it work better for you to have bills included? Think about what’s right for you.
I feel this is the most important as it will pretty much fully dictate your next year. Make sure you’re compatible, know each other well enough, and are likely to stay friends. This is way easier said than done (trust me, I know first hand) but do your best to really think about whether you’ll still be BFFLs after freshers. Also are they likely to be considerate when it comes to deadlines and exams, and then with electricity/gas usage and splitting the bills?
I cannot stress this enough! Wait until you’ve seen enough houses, figured out exactly who to live with and what location is best for you and don’t allow yourself to be pressured into signing for a house you don’t want! We found ourselves overwhelmed with people claiming “all the houses have gone!!!” which is clearly a load of nonsense. We rushed into a decision, signed for our house in November and although lovely, we all regret rushing into the decision so quickly and there’s many things we’d have done differently!