Freshers’ Week may feel like a lifetime ago now the lectures and course work have taken over your life, but don’t forget to dedicate time to finding your perfect student home for next year. You don’t want to get left with the old granny flat on the outskirts of the city whilst your course-mates are living it up in a mansion fit for a house party!
One thing UniHomes can help with is making sure that every student home seeker is informed and well-equipped to get the most out of an upcoming viewing. The process of viewing a student house should be exciting, but can be uncharted territory for students going into their second academic year, while mature students often forget a number of key considerations when assessing accommodation. That’s why we’re here to help.
1. Know your group size
Start by making conversations around finding your dream house with your mates fun – have a chat to those you click with at pre-drinks or make a wish list of the things you’d like from your next home. Just don’t leave it until the next day hangover otherwise booking viewings with landlords will be the last thing you fancy doing!
Once you think you’ve sussed out who’s dirty laundry you can tolerate over the next academic year, firm up your group size before enquiring or you’ll be wasting yours and the letting agents time.
2. Room size
It’s tempting to get sucked in by the luxury kitchen and comfy sofas, but make sure you also pay attention to the room sizes. Although square footage can never be exact, ask if the smaller rooms come with a slightly cheaper weekly cost to sweeten whoever picks the short straw. You should also check if the bedrooms have enough storage space for your Nike collection, as well as a small study area to get the peace and quiet needed for course work and revision. Don’t be afraid to take realistic photos if the ones advertising the property were on the generous side.
You can only mark a place down for damage from the existing tenants if you don’t get the vibe your landlord will be hot of the blocks to make sure it’s rectified before you move in. Keep an eye out for signs of damp, crumbling paint work, broken appliances or stained carpets. If you spot anything, don’t be afraid to ask if these issues will be rectified prior to you moving in.
4. Get insider information: Speak to the current tenants
Although you should get trustworthy and honest vibes from any landlord or letting agent, the best and most valuable information you can hope to obtain about a property is often directly from the current tenants. Wherever possible, try to ask them about their experiences of living in the property and any dealings with the letting agent or landlord. They’ll surely recommend them if they’ve had a positive experience or advise you to look elsewhere if it hasn’t been a particularly happy one - just make sure the landlord isn’t in ear shot!
5. Extra costs and hidden fees
The reason for UniHomes’ very existence is to advertise the best student properties inclusive of utility bills, but you still need to pay attention to any admin fees or high deposits. It’s also worth asking about any call out charges for misplaced or forgotten keys.
6. Emergency points of contact
It could be the letting agent, an external contractor or even the landlord themselves, but finding out who to contact in the event of an emergency, 24/7, is vital. If a serious electrical or plumbing issue arises you don’t want to rely on a slack maintenance team who’ll take their time to come and repair a dodgy toilet or even a power blackout.
7. Consider your commute
It’s always worth considering and planning your campus commute when viewing a property. You might fall in love with a house the minute you walk in, but that feeling can quickly turn bittersweet when you realise that the transport links are poor – especially when those harsh winter mornings begin to roll in!
8. Scope the local area
Regardless of how perfect a property might seem, it’s important to find out if the surrounding areas are up to the same standard. What is the neighbourhood like? Is there a decent supermarket close by? Are there nice places to eat and drink within walking distance? It’s a good idea to get off the bus a stop early so you can take a walk around and get a feel for the area and the local amenities.
Advertising the best student properties in Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield, UniHomes is the premier comparison website for all-inclusive student accommodation. We exclusively advertise student homes with bills included, so you will never encounter an unexpected charge during your stay.