Tips for house hunting
It’s coming up to that time of year where you need to start considering your accommodation for next academic year. It feels too early, but the earlier you get it done, you save yourself house hunting while you’re in the middle of deadline and exam season. Even writing this post is stressing me out just remembering, and making me dread having to do it all over again. However, do not panic and madly rush to find somewhere. It will work out.
Know what you want:
Firstly, the place you want to live and the budget that you have will determine who you can live with. Perhaps you and your future housemates don’t mind and aren’t too fussy, but make sure you’re all on the same page.
You will doubtless hear that some people you know have already secured their accommodation for next year. Good for them, but that doesn’t mean that you have to panic about finding a house. There are plenty of rooms available even after Easter break, but nor does that mean you should leave it that late. The point is, you should be able to find somewhere to live even if your initial plans fall through. Just be proactive now and save yourself the panic later.
The process will be excruciating:
Finding a house was the most stressful thing I had to deal with in first year. Me and my three friends started looking a few weeks before Christmas, then two more joined our group, and we didn’t find a house until about three weeks into term 2. Overall we viewed around 8 properties. As we were a large group, it meant that it was harder to find a time when we could all view a house. In some cases, the tenants didn’t provide their contact details, meaning that we were sometimes taking buses to houses only to find that there was no one home. I had to miss social events to go to viewings in the evenings (I’m still bitter about not being able to go to karaoke when we didn’t even choose the house). Sometimes you will really want a house but another group beats you to it. Sometimes a house looks nothing like the photos, which is why it’s so important to view them in person.
Because this whole process takes forever and gets really repetitive, it’s easy to want to give up and settle for something that doesn’t live up to what you’d wanted. Don’t give up. Of course you will have to make concessions to keep everyone happy, but a suitable place will show up.
Listen to your group:
When we were looking at houses, our group’s rule to abide by was that everyone would have to be happy with the house we chose, because if someone wasn’t happy it would create a rift in the group. These are the people you will be living with for the next year, and you are living in close financial relations, especially when it comes to paying bills. Trust and empathy is essential, so be sure to be kind and considerate to one another.
Consider things like bills (water, electric, gas, internet), and whether they are included in the rent. In most cases they won’t be, and you’ll need to factor this into your comparisons between properties. If you live in Coventry or Leamington Spa you will also most likely need a bus pass, and these can be quite expensive, but more economical than paying for each journey individually.