Written by Alice Fiancet
BA (Hons) Multimedia Journalism
There are many things you have to learn when you go to uni including how to cook, how to clean and how to do your own washing. The one thing that you can’t totally prepare for is house hunting after your first year – but have no fear, here are some helpful tips for finding the right house. Some of these tips will also help you if you’re a new student looking for a private let.
The first thing you should do is decide who you would like to live with. Make sure you pick people that you get on with, but also know will be able to keep the house in good condition. For me this was easy, my flat mates in first year soon became my best friends and it was almost instant. For other people it might be friends you have made on your course or in a society which can sometimes be more beneficial as you will always have someone there to make sure you attend lectures.
The next thing to do is decide what kind of features you want to have in your house, whether you want double beds or single beds, two bathrooms, a big garden and a sizeable lounge (do not go for a house with a conservatory, it might sound like a good idea but it gets very cold in the winter). When you have decided on these elements, it’s time to do house viewings.
Here is a list of questions to ask the current tenants:
- How much do you pay for bills on average?
- Have you had any mould problems?
- Do you contact the agency or the landlord if you have problems?
- What is the landlord like?
- Are the neighbours noisy?
- What furniture is included?
- (If there isn’t a tumble dryer) what local amenities are there?
Once you have found your house and picked your housemates, the next thing you have to do is secure the house and take it off the market. You will have to pay letting fees to take it off the market and depending on what agency you go to these can vary. BU Lettings are the cheapest, but for other agencies the average is about £150-£200 for letting fees. If you do have any problems with letting fees or house hunting, SUBU advice can help you with any issues you have.
You may find that your first choice gets taken quite quickly, but don’t worry – there are houses added to agency websites all the time and sometimes the best houses aren’t put up until late. Happy house hunting!
By Alice Fiancet