House Hunting Tips for 2021
With term 2 approaching, I’m sure many of you have started hearing whispers of house viewings, deposits and holding fees. As a second year, going through the house hunting process for the second time, I thought it only right to share my trials, tribulations and advice.
1. Picking Housemates
So before you open up Zoopla or the University accommodation page, you have to know what you are looking for. I know plenty people who moved in with their flatmates from first year but please remember sharing a house comes with more responsibilities than you have now in Halls. So I would make sure you and your flatmates are on the same page on shared spaces, bills and cleanliness or else you may be in for a hell of a year. The easiest route is to pick a couple good friends and find a cute 3-4 bedroom house. If, however, you are anywhere near as joined at the hip as my friends are, you scour the internet for a 10 bedroom house.
2. Location, Location, Location…
There are really only 2 types of Warwick student; Coventry babes and Leamington heads. This is ultimately the biggest filter when choosing who you are going to live with because this is where people will often have a strong opinion for or against one or the other. Leamington is really the Warwick student hub, loads of cute bars and restaurants, plenty of greenery and really nice spots around town. Coventry on the other hand is the closest you’re going to get to that city feel if that’s what is more your style. The Coventry side also has the benefit of having easy access to Birmingham and obviously Coventry University if you happen to have friends there.
I, with my 9 other friends, found a little gem just off the city centre and 40 minutes away from Campus by public transport. Commute time will also have to be a factor you consider and think realistically… if you have a 9am will you make it? if no… try again. Aside from the two towns there is obviously the surrounding area of Campus, but your best bet to secure one of those would be to go through the Uni.
3. Holding Fees, deposits and summer.
When we found our house, I can’t lie, we set ourselves up for failure. We got super excited and put money down very quickly without reading all the fine prints. Firstly, holding fees are not necessarily a bad thing but please check what it is you are paying for. Our holding fee ended up being our rent for the summer months so we could keep our things there before moving in. I’m sure reading that it sounded ridiculous and it was/ is. We paid rent for a house we couldn’t actually move in to, so if you see the words holding fee or summer retainer please clarify with the estate agent what it is for and if it can be negotiated. There are always plenty other properties so do not rush.
Deposits should really be paid in the summer so do not get tricked into paying crazy amounts of money super early especially currently with the pandemic where things change all the time. Our contract did not have a force majeure clause so despite us being in the middle of a pandemic, we cannot just terminate our contract. Do not make our mistakes guys.
House hunting is super fun, I loved it and house viewings are honestly the best. However, I will say; remember what you’re setting out to find, have your list of must haves and non-negotiables. Ask your parents before you make any decision and ALWAYS CHECK YOUR BUDGET.