Going from the comfort of student halls where all the hard work was done for you, to finding a house suitable for you and your friends to live in can be a challenge, especially the first time you have to do it. With a bit of luck, and by following these tips this new experience won’t be so difficult.
1. Work out who to live with
This is arguably one of the most important aspects, as you are picking who you will want to share a house with for the next year. Pick the people you feel most comfortable around as these are the people you will be spending most of your time with. If you are struggling to find a big enough group lots of universities have pages on Facebook and other social media where you can advertise how many people you are looking to live with. Lots of Student Unions run housing fairs where there are often landlords and people looking for others to live with, so these are always useful to attend!
2. Agree on a Budget
While a conversation about money can be awkward between friends, this is crucial in working out what kind of house is suitable for everybody. Openly discuss and agree on a budget so that no one is left unable to pay rent. Consider things such as whether you want a house that’s furnished or unfurnished, whether bills are included or not and the distance that your house will be from your university buildings as these will all have an impact on the cost.
3. Do some online research
If in doubt, the best place to start looking is always the internet. Local landlords will be posting houses online, so you can see what kind of houses are available in your area. This is useful as it will help you work out exactly what you do and don’t want in your house and allows you to read reviews left by previous tenants.
4. Book as many viewings as possible
This is the next step - along with photos of the house, the landlord/agency will put their contact details online, so you can make queries and contact them to book a viewing. Try and book as many as possible and attend all of them. It may be tempting to decide to live in the first house you view, but make sure that everyone who will be living there has seen the house (as this helps when deciding who has which room) and that everyone is happy with the house before you make any final decisions.
5. Remember to ask questions
This is something that seems so obvious but is so easily forgotten in the excitement of looking at your potential new home. Ask details such as the way your deposit will work, when the rent will be due and anything else you can think of. If possible, see if you can speak to the current tenants and ask how they are finding living in the house, as they will be able to give you an honest response about what the house and the landlord is actually like before you commit to living there for a year.
Hopefully, after reading these tips you feel a little less overwhelmed by the thought of finding a new house and are ready to start looking at the different available places in your area. Good luck in finding your perfect house for the next few years!