If you’re winding up your first year at Uni, you’ve probably enjoyed the privilege of being in Hall for your first year. And unless your University is one of the few that have invested heavily in accommodation over the past decade, you’re probably having to find some off campus digs to move into when you start your second year next Autumn.
If – once you’ve come out of the other side of your exams – you’re going house hunting with your Uni buddies. Here’s our quick guide to some of the pitfalls and tripwires you might encounter…
Get in there first
Once the exams are done everyone will be focussing on getting accommodation sort for next year, so it pays to be quick. If you want to get the best accommodation you’ll probably need to plan your time in advance. If you get some spare moments (you make it part of your Revision Break strategy) contact local letting agents and see what they have on offer.
Check the Location
You might view a house and consider it to be the perfect place to spend your second year, But chances are – being a student – that you’ll have viewed it in the day – when other residents are out. It’s worth popping back and checking it in the evening and in the dark, when people are back from work. At one end of the scale you might find that there’s an inconvenient glaring streetlight that illuminates all of the front bedrooms, whilst at the other there could be some seriously anti-social neighbours that ruin your shared-house experience.
It’s also critical to test the distance from Campus – to make sure that any new commute you’ll have to make is feasible – whether you’re lucky enough to have a car or not.
Is Cheap really worth it?
You might have found a house to share that looks like a good deal with a low monthly rental. But ask yourself – why it is cheap? It might be without central heating (which will mean you’ll all have to huddle round a gas-fire in one room during Winter months), or there might be some unhealthy damp. It may just be in a tatty state, and if you can live with that (or put a load of posters up) then that’ll leave you more money for other things.
Ensure you’ve got the deposit.
When you commit to a property, the Agent will usually ask you for a holding fee/full deposit. These days it’s often 1 1/2 times the rent – up front. Student life means that those sorts of funds aren’t always readily available and you might have to scrabble round to find it.
Are you sure about your Housemates?
When you’re all in Hall you’ll forge friendships that last forever. You’ll also make some that won’t. Moving into a house with other people will test those friendships, so be sure you know your college buddies well enough and are confident that you’ll get along. There’s no guarantee of course, but there’s also nothing worse than a house full of students who rub each other up the wrong way.
Check how much storage there is.
The confidence you’ll bring into your second year – and the fact that you’ll have a place that’s more your own – usually means you’ll bring more of your belongings with you. Especially as (in normal circumstances – where you don’t have to move out) you will be able to leave it there over the Christmas and Easter breaks.
As is often customary to keep costs down, you might find yourself in house that’s 4 bedroom and has 5 people in (the 5th using the front room as their bedroom). Check to see if there is any spare space or store cupboards elsewhere in the property. If there’s not consider if you might need some. And if you do, we’ve got a great range of options and you can combine your storage with your housemates as well, which means that you’ll be able to share costs. Find out more on our Student Storage in London page.