House Hunting 101: Tips for Finding Off-campus Accommodation
Heads up to all the current freshers, but it’s that time of the year when the massive rush to find house mates, start scouting the nearby areas for potential houses and settle accommodation downpayment for potential houses in second year. The stress and chaos that may often come about this lengthy process which include deciding on flatmates, sorting budgets, location and room preferences with other parties involved but yourself may be daunting but in the end you will have a house for next year, rest assured.
Looking back on my own experience coming out of first year and deciding where I would be living in my upcoming second year was quite a difficult task for me, as I had just felt like I had finally settled down into my cosy Rootes room on campus and the last thing I wanted to have to think about was packing everything up and displacing myself all over again. Here are a few tips and advice I would like to offer up, with hopes that it may act as a guide on this house hunting process. These are just some things you may want to keep in mind throughout the next few weeks when you and your house-mates to be start scouring Leamington or Coventry for potential houses.
First and foremost, it may be a bit worrisome with regards to having to decide immediately who you want to live with, as the situation of living with some of your mates may be completely different than how you expected it would be. Keep in mind how their lifestyles may be different to yours, whether or not they are messy or generally have certain habits that you may not be compatible with regards to living situations. Make sure to weigh these different factors before immediately agreeing to a flatmate group, or there may be a risk of putting your friendship on the line and no one likes inner house tension. Coming home after a long day of lectures should be something you look forward to and you would rather not have to equip yourself for a civil war within your flat, if conflict starts to brew.
Be mindful of everyone’s budget and location preferences. Leamington Spa is one of the more popular choices many students tend to steer towards with regards to location. Being around a 25 minute bus trip from campus with a wide variety of things to do including aesthetic brunch spots, cozy dinner restaurants and of course the prime location of two of the hottest university student go-to clubs; SMACK and Neon. While it is an ideal location for those who may get bored of campus, the main issue is the distance and bus situation which is notorious for being quite a hassle. Busses tend to get full especially during lecture peak hours, so many students end up having to take the morning commute a few hours before their 10:00 lecture in order to make sure they actually secure a spot in the bus. If you live in South Leamington you’re most likely to be able to board the bus problem free, but the further up south and central parade you get, the less pleasant the bus boarding situation may be. The bus route starts from the south and works it’s way up the parade before heading towards campus. keep in mind the price of the bus pass is £300 a term and if you have the tendency to lose things easily make sure your bus pass is not one of them as Stagecoach has a policy in which you need to repurchase an entirely new pass, if you do end up losing it.
The best ways to start searching for houses may be talking to current second or third years who may be able to pass you on certain contacts of various landlords they have come across in the past, or if you are indeed lucky one of the third years may offer up their current house contract to you after they graduate. Another good place to look when you’re stuck would be through the Warwick off-campus accomodation website which can be found here.
Once you have started collecting an array of potential houses, make sure to narrow down at least three house options. Having too many houses may be overwhelming to look over, but too little options may limit you. In many situations, students tend to settle for the first or second house that they consider decent however sometimes there are certain housing contracts that may be better than the previous. Having options never hurt and it just ensures that you will be getting the better value for your money. A good timeline to keep in mind with regards to housing deadlines, would be at least aim to start narrowing down contracts by the third week of second term. Hopefully some of these words of advice can offer you more insight into the process of figuring out your housing for next year and while it may seem very sudden and early, it is always best to start looking early in order to lessen the potential stress of a rush decision closer towards the end. Happy house hunting to you all and good luck!