House-hunting tips, and why you shouldn’t panic!
Around this time last year, I was already beginning to worry about where I would be living during my second year. Housing can be a stressful process, so here are a few housing tips ahead of time, before house-hunting becomes all anyone talks about around you!
November is typically when everyone around you starts to talk about second-year houses. You might start hearing that you should have housing sorted out by the end of November, or early December, or over the winter holidays. But really, there is no time limit for when you should have everything figured out. I only signed the contract for my current house at the start of February, and I’m really glad I waited until I found a house that I could truly see myself living in. Warwick Accommodation continues to update their website with houses throughout the year, so it isn’t like if you don’t have it all done by Term 1 all hope is lost. I’m not going to lie though, the weeks leading up to signing my contract were some of the most stressful of my first year, but in the end I realized that I really didn’t have a reason to be so worried about housing!
One of the first things people worry about is when to start looking for accommodations. As I’ve mentioned, November is when things really start moving for housing and the university will begin having events to guide you along the way. But I think that something that is as equally important as sorting out housing is not rushing into it! I remember worrying about it because many people on my course or in my flat already had their groups and were visiting houses already, while I had barely gotten used to my current accommodation and to campus life.
November is still really early in the year, so it’s perfectly normal if you’re having a hard time deciding who you want to live with and where. I had no clue who I wanted to live with at this time last year- I was still just getting to know my flatmates and coursemates! What I recommend is discussing housing with people around you and seeing what everyone has in mind. And if you have some people you know you would like to live with, then ask them what their plans are.
Another thing I recommend is deciding where you want to live early on, because that could also determine who you end up living with. The most popular areas are Coventry (which includes Earlsdon as well), Kenilworth, Canley and Leamington. I knew early on that Leamington wasn’t really for me. I knew that I wanted to be closer to campus, and that the Leamington bus lines were not something I wanted to face every day. That being said, if commuting isn’t a big concern for you, Leamington is really lovely and lively! I also considered Canley early on, but I preferred the houses we visited in Earlsdon and I liked the idea of being close to the City Centre. This is just to say that everyone has their preferences for housing, so do take that into account when you decide who to live with. Last year, I had formed a group with 4 other people, but we hadn’t discussed where we wanted to live. This meant that visiting houses was quite a bit more tiring because we tried to cover both Leamington and Coventry. In the end our group split up because we realized that some of us really enjoyed Leamington, and other really preferred Coventry and so if we stayed as one group half of us wouldn’t enjoy where we lived. This is why I think that making your preferences known early on can be really helpful 🙂
My final tip is: Do make sure you visit the house you want and have a list of questions ready! While the pictures online might look good, the house could be really different when you see it. Visiting also means that you know where exactly the house is and how long it would take you to get there. Some houses we visited last year looked great online, but we realized that the area around them wasn’t lit up at night and didn’t seem really safe. Others looked much more modern in pictures that in person. Visiting will clear up any doubts you have and it will also give you the opportunity to talk to the current residents, who can give you the most honest reviews of the house.
Here is a list of some useful questions you might want to ask when visiting:
-How safe is the area?
-How do you handle bills? How much do they usually amount to? (Note that for some houses bills are included in the rent, as is the case with my house this year, so you don’t have to worry about it)
-Is there anything you don’t like about the house?
-Is there anything that doesn’t work properly?
-How is the landlord? (less of a worry if you decide to go with Warwick Accommodation because then the university takes care of faults with the house)
-How long does it take you to go to university?
-Would you recommend the house?
I think these are the most useful tips I can think of regarding housing, so I hope it helps!
Please message me if you have any other questions though! 🙂