How to win the Student House Race
Firstly, work out who you will live with and how many people you want in your house. The key component to any student house deal is commitment from everyone in the group. This consists of commitment to paying deposits, signing deals and most importantly of all, turning up for showings. A great way to get the ball rolling is to hold a meeting with your future housemates, maybe even make a day or it and get house searching. Getting everyone involved in the process can be a perfect way to make sure that everyone is getting what they want out of the deal, from bike sheds through to accessible stairs.
It’s a good idea to ask advice from second year students and see who they went through and the experience that they had. It can be a great insight into how the process works.
The first thing to do when searching for houses is to tailor your results. You need to establish whether you want bills included (a great perk - you can use all the fairy lights that you want!). Or whether you’d prefer to have bills separate, which is often cheaper but can be a faff sorting out yourselves when you’ve got a big house. If you do choose the latter make sure you have sorted everything by the time everyone moves in, no one wants a week without internet!
Make sure everyone sets their own budget; when racing to look for houses it can be quite easy to simply think of yourself and your own budget, but you need to bear in mind that your housemates may have a smaller student loan.
Book a viewing for all the houses that take your fancy and meet everyone’s needs and ensure that as many people as possible are available to view it. This way you won’t have to rearrange any viewings separately and people won’t feel left out, you don’t want to cause any group tensions!
Start viewing houses. There is never an ideal time to start viewing your houses, yet it is important to remember that the saying is always true; the best ones do tend to go first. Usually houses with the cheapest deals and best transport links will go sharpish. So, your safest bet is to start as soon as possible, this way you can relax and focus on your university experience and avoid the stresses of getting a house during the spring.
When viewing a house, there are a few things that you need to take into consideration. Firstly, look out for damp. Many houses, especially student ones, tend to suffer from this! Make sure that you check out all the walls and ceilings for any tell-tale signs. You will also want to check around the windows where damp can usually lurk.
Some student houses tend to have a few extra tenants in the form of insects and slugs; this is usually because of students leaving their rubbish lying around. Don’t be afraid to look inside the cupboards for any tell-tale droppings and also any slug slime, sounds disgusting I know, so look out for it!
You may also want to discuss transport links, and maybe even enquire as to where people can store their bikes.
When house hunting and renting, make sure that you get everything in writing! If your landlord has promised you an outstanding renovation, which you are a little sceptical about ever happening, get it all in writing. Usually email is the best for this, enquire as to when the build will be finished and the best day to move in, obviously if these quotas are not met then you have a basis to make a complaint against your landlord, as you are legally required to deliver evidence when doing this.
Finally, if you find a house which everyone loves, then go for it! Leaving a house which you all really adore still on the market until you can be motivated to actually get all the paperwork done can be a terrible mistake!
If you want to win the house race and get a nice house which everybody loves and which is in a great location, then sign that contract and get it sorted! Making sure that everything is in place and ready for you and your housemates can be a really nice feeling,