Some honest house hunting advice, right on your doorstep.
1. Decide when you want to start looking
Make sure everyone in your prospective group is aware that Unipol doesn’t open until January and as well as that, people won’t find out if they have secured a placement or study abroad opportunity until at least during or after Christmas. Timing is key for the house hunt so make sure you have a plan for when the search must commence, whether that be before or after Christmas to suit your group.
2. Keep up to date with Unipol
Make sure you’re available when Unipol opens as those few days are key to do your viewings and sign your house. Try to avoid booking holidays or weekends away around then as you don’t want to feel the fomo while housemates see the properties without you. Some independent landlords only advertise through Unipol too, so these could be hidden gems that you don’t want to miss out on.
3. Agree on what your priorities are before you start looking
This could be things such as someone who is desperate for a garden or you want at least two bathrooms, you don’t want to be having these conversations during the viewings and this will help you narrow down which properties are worthwhile seeing.
4. Location, location, location
Hyde Park is a big place and we didn’t realise that the house we signed for our second year was actually fairly far away from uni. Ask some people you know in the years above you for their advice on what streets are ideally placed or which to avoid at all costs.
5. Don’t succumb to the pressure that you must sign the first house you see
It may be everything you wanted and more but at the same time, seeing a few properties will allow you to compare what is good value for money and make you realise what you really want out of a house.
For example, we saw a house that the description stated there was a shower for every room, however the promised ensuite dream was all false advertising and really it was just a mouldy condensation nightmare with soggy carpet. Suffice to say, we did not sign that property.
6. Use your friends!
We found our final year house through our friends who lived in it while we were on our year abroad. This way you can get a full picture of what the letting agency are like and if they ran into any problems. This also works both ways so be sure to warn your friends away if you had a traumatic letting agency or landlord experience.
7. Understand your new housing contract
Not every letting agency operates in the same way and they’ll want varying amounts of money off you for different things. Just make sure you’re clear on what they need and whether it’s money you’ll get back at the end or never see again.
The Student Advice team in the union offers a contract checking service to provide some support, so make sure to utilise this service if you run into any troubles.