Student House Hunting Tips
Today I have decided to talk to you about Student Housing! Now I am no means ‘an expert’ in this field, but this year was the third (thankfully final time) I have had to go through the procedure! Sadly, each year it turns out to be a truly STRESSFUL experience, but I do hope this post might give you a little bit of ease! Apologies, if it is wordy, but these are a few of the most important things I keep in mind when house hunting!
QUICK NOTE – I have only had experience of student house hunting in Leeds, so different factors may apply across the country / globe, but should be very similar! I also hope this post isn’t too late 🙁
Some places like Birmingham (I hear from friends) that house hunting happens around October. In Leeds it begins in January usually, but my best friend in London literally leaves it until like summer.
Pick people you feel you can handle living with for AT LEAST a year
Now, this seems really very obvious. But moving in with people is a really big commitment, you are often all signed on a joint contract and therefore are all responsible. You will be surprised what you will learn about a person once you move in with them…….. Plus, the house hunting section is quite a stressful experience itself, you don’t want to fall out during this time! (It happens 🙁 )
Decide on Price Range, Location and Tenancy Contract Time
It is often good to get price and location out in the open very early on, so that you aren’t wasting time looking at properties that may be ever so lovely, but not where you or your friends actually want to live / afford. (I have experienced problems with this, every. single. year. ) People just have different opinions on location, but hopefully you can compromise and find a balance. Keep in mind, the nearer you are to university, the likelihood that it is going to cost you more!
In terms of tenancy contract, in Leeds you can have July – July or September – July tenancies, if you and your housemates can manage to get all your belongings back to your family home for the summer, this is a fabulous way to save some money during the summer! Unfortunately for me, this isn’t usually possible, but some land lords do have half priced summer rent, so keep your eyes peeled!
Talk To The Current Tenants (if possible)
If the current tenants are in, do try have a chat with them! They are the best people to speak to, who will be honest about the property they are living in, after all unlike the property viewer, they have experienced the house.
I often have a few questions in mind that I usually often ask when I house view. These include:
1. How much do you spend on bills a month
This one to me, is super super super important. Some houses are naturally warmer and more efficient, so I like to ask the tenants how much they spend, just so I can add a rough figure to my weekly price.
2. Is this landlord reliable? – Also, SUPER important. Any maintenance needed on the property, for example if it was an emergency, you would like to think that your landlord will come to you super urgently.
3. I sometimes (If I am feeling particularly nosy) ask the reason they might be moving out… – just for a thought. Often they just need to move because they have finished their degree / need to down size because people are moving abroad / placement.
I then often like to ask about the area, is it relatively safe, etc, etc, how loud is it, general questions like this really! But just by simply chatting to them, you can often tell if the property is a good’en.
Bargain With The Letting Agents
This often works best when you have left your house hunting slightly later. In second year we finally found our house in about March, and by this time, landlords and letting agents are often quite desperate to make a sale. So do try bargain with them! You might be able to reduce the weekly rent, include half summer rent, or even gain yourself some new items! I believe we managed to get a clothes drier and a TV put in our house! DONT FORGET to make sure it is written in your contract though, otherwise they may not give it to you.
Don’t Rush, and Keep An Open Mind
Try to take your time, although easier said than done! I know the feeling, you just want to get it done done done and out of your mind! There is always the worry that if you don’t get to it quickly that all the ‘good’ houses will run out. Luckily in Leeds there are so so many houses available, lots of houses remain empty for the year because they don’t get filled. (although this may not always be the case in other cities). But do try not to panic.
Try to keep an open mind when house hunting. Some of the houses you view, may possibly be truly DISGUSTING. I have seen some absolutely terrible terrible properties mainly to do with the current tenants. Do try to keep an open mind and imagine what the property may look like with all your lovely items in it, just think, you can personalise it and make it so much nicer and cosier when you move in!
Sometimes, some things are just not meant to be. Last month I found a house that I was totally smitten about, and it ended up not working out. I was devastated and truly upset, but the beautiful Sophie cheered me up by saying that some things happen for a reason, and losing the house was for the best, and better things were to come!
As stressful as the experience may be, it is a truly lovely feeling once you do have it sorted, and the weight is lifted off your shoulders! Please do share some of your house hunting tips below in the comments? I would love to hear them!
Hope some of these tips help,