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Ailish-Myland-StokesHaving survived halls, the prospect of living in a ‘real house’ with a select few can be really exciting, and it is!

Here is my list of top tips when house hunting to help you find your very own home from home; I can guarantee you’ll be more concerned about switching off the lights and saving electricity here than when living with your parents…

1) Pick your roomies wisely

Second year house hunting is where being polite and always saying yes must stop. Living in halls is amazing, there are so many people to meet and hang out with, whereas second year houses are much more self-contained. Plus, with the added academic pressure, your happiness is of utmost importance. You may have some really great friends, but find their living habits hard to swallow, or may know of a really lovely person in your lectures, but in actual fact have no idea what it would be like to spend extended periods of time with them. Have a real think about this as once you sign on the dotted line… you’re stuck together.

2) Take your time

In my first year, I found course mates house hunting before Christmas! I had just about got used to this halls thing and really didn’t want to start the house hunting stress already. There really is no need to begin looking quite so early. Many of the estate agents were baffled when, in my first year, my friends and I jumped on the bandwagon and began seeking out our second year pad. Conversely, on my return from placement and in search for my final year house, my friends and I waited until after Easter. Some may say this was a little risky, but we found a beautiful flat in the heart of Winton.

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Bournemouth is blessed with being a fairly spacious town compared with other larger UK cities, so don’t fret that you will be without a house, there are plenty to go around.

3) Look a little closer to home

BU offers a fantastic letting service! Reliable and super friendly, it’s worth seeing what’s on offer, particularly since they are clued up on the needs and wants of you students and aren’t out to take all your pennies.

4) Check the dates

Particularly true if you rent a property with a high street estate agent, sometimes the contract dates run way past your study dates and as was the case for me, this may not be ideal. So, check first so that you know exactly how many months of rent you will be paying and if this is feasible for you. The earlier you check these things out, the easier it will be to find solutions.

5) Be realistic

Halls was great. Pay for the term and Bob’s your uncle. Budgeting only concerned food, the occasional clothes wash and nights out! However, when house hunting it’s important to consider how much money you’ll need to set aside for living and household bills. Current tenants are great at giving you an insight into the living costs. Generally most student houses are fairly similar however it is worth checking to be on the safe side.

6) Location, Location, Location

I may be a little biased since it has been my student home ever since (with a tear in my eye) I left halls. And it hasn’t disappointed. Winton is the life and soul of the post first year party, an ideal location for university, local amenities and only a short taxi ride away from the beloved Lava…or “Cameo” for you young things. It is really nice to be in and among the student vibe, although this is not just restricted to Winton; Charminster is also a good spot and Lansdowne is cool too! However, with potentially longer hours in the library than in first year, I found that being closer to uni was ideal.

Finally, don’t forget to pack a disposable BBQ or two on move in day. Bournemouth is such a beautiful place to live and so it’s a given that you and your roomies will throw a BBQ/ garden party in the first week of (re)freshers!
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ENJOY!

By Ailish Myland-Stokes

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