Surviving the house hunting process
We’re getting to that time of the year when your thoughts automatically shift to the dreaded question: Where am I going to live next year?
So here is a post which I hope will give you some useful insights on things to consider when facing house hunting – especially if you’re going to live off-campus after your first year.
The process. Should you choose to look for places with Warwick Accommodation, make sure you familiarise yourself with the process! Here is a very brief summary.
– – Form a group online, comprising of all the people you wish to live with (see below), and choose a leader. That was me by the way. (Reminding my flatmates who the boss is).
– – On the 28 of November, properties will be available online. The website is quite straightforward, and it is very easy to filter properties according to the place and the size of your group.
– – Properties will be available to be seen by a maximum of 3 groups at the same time. Once you’ve seen it and decided you want to consider it, you can reserve it for 48 hours, meaning that no one else but your group will be able to see it. During this time, you can finalise your decision and accept the contract, or if you feel meh about it, decline it and end the reservation. You can also contact those living there at the moment and visit it to get an idea. Reserving a property doesn’t mean you cannot view others (but of course reservation is only possible for one property), so have a good look around!
– – The golden rule: no pressure. I remember we looked for properties immediately on the day, and so many people do the same thing. Properties will fly away since people tend to reserve immediately. It was unnecessarily stressful. Take your time and check regularly. Don’t rush! Properties will keep on coming, and so many people end up getting good places in Term 2 – that gives you enough time to get to know people.
The people. A very tricky issue! You’ve only been here a few months after all, and it’s perfectly normal not to have a clue. I remember the conversations in lectures towards this time two years ago. Pretty much everyone was panicking. For me, I was lucky to live with a pretty great bunch of people and by this time we all got on fantastically. We were about 10, and we split into three houses. But the truth is – two months is not enough to really get to know people. Even for us, no matter how well we got and still get on, conflicts in the house are inevitable. No matter how much you love them, you will get annoyed. So acknowledge that and don’t panic. To sum up: conflicts will occur, but make sure the people you have decided to live with don’t live for drama, and everything will be fine.
The place. I was lucky to be in a group where we all agreed on where we wanted to live. That might not be the case for you – but compromises must be reached from all parts. The place where you will be living is extremely important, so make sure you are okay with it. There are several places you can choose, and each comes with its pros and cons.
1) (1) ? Canley is the best option in this case, but make sure you become familiar with the different areas in Canley. Some are too remote to walk or even cycle, so you will end up taking the bus. My house is a 15-20 minute walk to campus and I find it fantastic, because I can easily go back during the day if I need.
2) (2) ? Leamington Spa. Coventry might also be a good idea, but options are limited.
3) (3) ? Leamington is a top choice for most students, so you will not completely lose that feeling.
4) (4) ? If you think the most important thing is to have a bed and a roof, without worrying too much about the aesthetics of the surroundings, Canley (the side that’s closest to campus) or Earlsdon are good options, with all the basic needs and cheap alternatives.
5) (5) ? In my first year, my flatmates and I had no doubts – we were the type of people described in (4). But one thing I didn’t consider is the lack of good walks in nature around Canley. We’ve been living in the same house and I’m glad we’re saving plenty of money, but I sometimes really feel the need to be in nature, so I will stay on campus most of the day and have a nice walk there, although I’d prefer to have something near home. The best places for this are Leamington and Kenilworth.
6) (6) ? If you want frequent buses and trains to the surrounding areas (e.g. Birmingham), Coventry is a convenient place – but only if you’re close to the station.
Final thoughts: remember an actual house will be different to the on-campus experience. For us, shifting from a diverse group of 10 excited freshers to a three-people house was quite a shock. We’ve always been living together, but the environment changes, and so do the relationships. But don’t worry! You will adjust super soon to the new situation. Just keep that in mind.
Secondly, and I’m sure you’ll hear this a lot, many times people rush into a decision without putting too much thought into it. Take time, ponder, make sure you and your future flatmates are on the same page, and don’t worry – you will find a place!
I would definitely recommend checking the SU website, where you will find plenty of support and information: https://www.warwicksu.com/advice/housing/
Good luck, and if you have any more questions or thoughts, I’d love to hear from you!