So, it’s that time of year again when you and your housemates need to start house hunting for next year’s home.
There’s a lot to think about: where will you live? How close do you need to be to uni? How many bedrooms do you need? Do you need extra things like a drive or a garden? Sorting this out, especially if you’re searching as a group, can be complicated, so we wanted to help you by sharing our dos and don’ts for when you start house hunting.
Have a budget
If you set a budget before you start house hunting, it’ll mean you know where everyone stands when you start your search and won’t have a difficult situation of one person being able to afford a property and others not. Check out our blog post on choosing your housemates for more advice.
Look for code properties
Unipol runs a voluntary accreditation scheme for landlords called The Code. In a nutshell, this means if you sign for an accredited property you can expect a high standard of property and management which goes above and beyond legal requirements.
Get your contract checked
Your Students’ Union Advice Service should be able to offer contract checking. Make sure to get this done before you sign on the dotted line to ensure peace of mind and avoid any surprises further down the line.
Choose an area
Leeds and Nottingham are big cities and there are plenty of different student areas. Before you start your search, work out where you want to live, that way you know which properties you should view. Look at the local amenities, distance to university and transport links to help decide what works best for you. Nottingham students click here for an area guide, and Leeds students check out the Area Guide from page 10 of this year’s House Hunting Guide.
There’s no need to rush
Don’t feel pressured into signing for the first house you see if you’re not 100% sure about it. There’s a surplus of student accommodation in Leeds and Nottingham (meaning there are more properties than there are students) so there’s no rush – you’ll be able to sign for a great house whenever you make the decision.
Don’t keep quiet
Speak up and ask any questions you have about a property you’re interested in. It’s best to know too much than too little, so to avoid any nasty surprises later. Ask all the small but important questions: what’s the cost of bills each month, where are the bins located, what’s the broadband speed like, how energy efficient is the property? By knowing all of this beforehand, you’ll be fully prepared and will have a more realistic idea of how much it’ll cost to live there.
Forget to write a list of what you’ll need
Once you’ve found a property, have a clear list of what is included and what isn’t. Make sure to create a list of everything you’ll need and who will be getting it; that way you can plan ahead, keep on budget and make sure everyone knows what they are buying so you don’t duplicate items.
So there you go… our list of dos and don’ts to hopefully make your time house hunting easier. You can also pop into our office at 155-157 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, or 28 Shakespeare Street, Nottingham, to speak to a member of our team for advice or support. Alternatively, you can use the webchat function on our website if you can’t make it in.