The student guide to finding a house
by Ellie Woodin
Finding a student house for the first time can be super stressful but using my experience as a final year student, I have created this handy guide with some useful tips!
When to start looking
One of the most stressful things about finding a house for 2nd year is how quickly into first year you have to find people to live with and start looking for a house. A lot of people will say that there are no houses left after Christmas. This is a myth. We secured our house in January and it had 5 big bedrooms and was close to uni. However, there in an element of truth that the nicest houses go first, but all student houses are pretty similar. My best advice would be if you have sorted out the people you’re living with, start looking at houses and try and get it sorted by Christmas. Do not panic if you haven’t got one before then it is just one less stress during January exams if you’ve already sorted your house.
Finding the right house
When we were looking for a house we mostly used websites like Zoopla and Rightmove just because you can filter the amount of bedrooms and add other requirements like parking. Always view the property sometimes the pictures aren’t very accurate!!
TOP TIP: If you see one house you like call the letting agent and request a viewing for this house and any similar properties! Agents often have other suitable properties not listed on the websites that are also available.
Choosing the right location
Location is key in second year because let’s be honest if you have a long walk to uni and it’s raining you won’t be very motivated to go in. Most student houses are in Winton and Charminster but if you chose to live in Charminster you will probably need to get the bus to uni. I lived in Winton and have made this handy map to show the best streets if you want around a 10 minute walk! There’s also loads of parking around here if you have a car.
TOP TIP: Always check the walking distance to uni on google maps and keep in it in mind when viewing properties.
Securing your house
If you find a house that ticks all the boxes then you have succeeded in your search. TOP TIP: Do not look for perfection or you will end up viewing houses forever. We did this when we were looking and ended up missing out on some really nice houses because of tiny problems.
Once you have said yes to the agent you will need to pay a fee to take it off the market which is normally around £220 each. Make sure you are prepared to pay this on the day you confirm the property and then be ready to pay deposits and first month’s rent in the following months (this can be quite a lot but remember you get your deposit back). You will also most likely need a guarantor (someone who will have to pay the rent if you are unable to) so have this person in mind when you start your search.
· Try to secure a property by Christmas but do not panic if you haven’t there will still be houses available.
· When booking viewings ask estate agents to show you a number of properties they have available.
· Check locations of properties before booking viewings to prevent wasting time on houses miles from uni.
· Be prepared to pay hefty estate agents fees (they can’t be avoided).
· Keep your wits about you, student landlords and agents can try and take advantage.
I hope this guide has been useful it definitely would have saved me and my mates a lot of time when we were looking for our first student house! Good luck with the search ?
Thanks to Ellie for this fantastic blog!