As a fresher, there’s an initial pressure to get organised early and find a student house for the following year, once you’ve left halls of residence.
The chances are, you’ve moved to an entirely new and confusing city, so your knowledge of the area isn’t great.
On top of this, you have little idea what a good price for rent is, whether you should find a house which has bills included and what difference it’ll make depending what area of the city you move to.
It’s understandable if more than a few students get in a panic about this. However, fear not, as we have 5 top tips for finding the perfect student house.
The first thing to consider is the location of your new student house. Let’s face it, you’d rather not be commuting more than half an hour each day to get to campus.
If your university campus is in a city centre, then you’ll want to start your search for apartments and houses within walking distance of the university.
As is always the case, those closest will undoubtedly be the most expensive, so the further away from the campus, the cheaper places will become.
If your campus is outside of the town or city, it’s worth focusing on bus routes and getting a place which is within walking distance of a bus stop.
Once you have discovered the correct areas, it’s worth considering distances to bus stops, supermarkets and your campus as you’ll want to get the most out of a bus pass instead of taking Uber’s everywhere.
Every town and city with a university will have certain neighbourhoods which have become little student colonies.
If you aren’t aware of those areas in your town or city, it’s worth speaking to other students or your student’s union for advice on the best areas.
This is vital because you don’t want to end up in an area largely populated with young families, as you might quickly find you have a number of enemies. Here’s a great example from April 2016.
Not only is it better to be in a student area so you don’t disturb your neighbours so often, but it also means that you could be within walking distance of some of your friends.
Aside from the number of bedrooms, location and cost, it’s important to ensure the house is up to scratch.
There are regulators of private student housing like Unipol who have guidelines which student houses must abide by. When vexing a house, make a checklist and check that everything is in order with the regulations.
If there are students currently living it, it’s worth finding time to have a quick chat with them. Unlike the landlord or estate agent who’s showing you around, the current tenets won’t be trying to sell it to you, so are more likely to be honest with you if say there’s a damp back was, or the shower runs cold when other taps are running downstairs.
There’s two bill payment methods in student houses. One is the same as you experienced in halls, you pay for rent and utility bills as an all-inclusive lump sum. Others require you to organise each bill separately, which obviously takes a little more time and effort.
Depending on the number of people you intend on living with, organising the latter obviously becomes a little more complex, as everyone receives money at different times and bills come out at different dates.
It’s still very much manageable, but you need to consider what will work best for you.
One of the biggest mistakes made by students every year is panic signing a house contract because it’s the first they see that they like.
We spoke to Preston based student accommodation provider, Bellvue Students who told us, “Every year we have 2nd and 3rd year students come to view our houses and complain about their previous ones. They say that they regret jumping into a contract without shopping around first.”
“We understand the pressures on first year students, but don’t assume that if you don’t agree on a house in early January, that there will be non left, this simply isn’t true. Just take your time and learn more about what you can get for your money.”