Choosing your student house is one of the most tricky and important decisions of your university life. It’s important not to get caught up in the house hunting hysteria and to make sure you make the correct decision for yourself. There can be a lot to think about when it comes to viewing student houses, so we’ve made this guide to help you pick out the most important house viewing criteria and make sure you don’t make a decision you might regret! So here are the top 7 criteria when it comes to viewing a student house…
Perhaps the first and most important element to consider is the rent. You need to know what is affordable for yourself and for your future housemates. Knowing what you can afford will prevent a descent into unmanageable and unnecessary debt.
Make sure you check to see if the listing has bills included or not. This could be of benefit to you when it comes to avoiding arguments and surprise bills. But, be aware, you will pay more for the privilege! Rent is often advertised as per person per week (pppw) like it is on the student house reviews website, but keep in mind your estate agents may collect it weekly, monthly or quarterly. At the end of the day, there’s no right or wrong amount to pay in rent. It all depends on how much you want to pay. Make sure you and your house are all on the same page in terms of what price-range you’re looking for. There’s nothing that complicates house-hunting more than housemates all looking for something different.
Location, location, location. No, I’m not talking about that channel 4 property program but instead how long it takes you to roll out of bed and drag yourself into a lecture hall. Or, perhaps more applicably for most of you, how long you spend drunkenly walking back to your house once the buses have stopped running after a night out. Depending on where your university is situated, a typical second year student would probably value proximity to nightlife much more than a final year student who might spend a few long nights in the library. On Student Angle it’s easy to see the location of your next student house with our map function!
Location can vary the price quite considerably and housing nearer the university or a town/city centre often come with a mark-up. If you can’t afford your ideal location then perhaps think about an area with decent transport links. How close is the nearest bus stop into town? How far are you from the train station? You can search for your potential house on Student Angle to see how well the previous tenants rated the transport links. It might also be a good idea to check the crime rates in the area to avoid any unwanted activity; a burglar alarm in the house is highly valued! Make sure you also find out the ease of access to supermarkets, gyms and of course your local pub!
One of the most overlooked things in a student house viewing is the presence of damp.. Make sure to ask the estate agent/landlord about this during your house viewing. Be sure to check all walls, ceilings and windows and don’t forget to look behind large items of furniture. You are looking for any signs of peeling wallpaper or paint, black mould patches or a musky smell. Damp is not something to be taken lightly; it can seriously affect your health. Check out the possible health effects of damp here.
You may not be able to visibly see pests, but you can definitely check for droppings around the edges and corners of rooms and perhaps more obviously any traps/poison left by the previous tenants. The most common household pests include mice, moths and rats.
You’ll want to make sure the your next student house is properly insulated to stop you splashing out on heating everyday. One of the best things to do is to see the energy performance certificate (EPC). This document will be sent to you by the estate agent upon signing the rental agreement and will inform you of any problems with house insulation etc.
6. Water Supply
When it comes to the water supply most students have one thing in mind; how powerful is the shower? During the house viewing it’s probably a good idea to turn the taps on yourself and check for any leaks that could cost you a small fortune in bills!
7. Appliances and Furnishings
You’ll want to check out the heating set-up, and what type of cooker is in the kitchen. Gas central heating will be a lot cheaper and warmer in winter than electric heaters. Every penny counts! Have a good look at the appliances and furnishings in the house to make sure everything you require is included and check it’s on the house inventory. Otherwise when you arrive at the start of the term it could be gone! It’s also a good idea to take pictures of everything when you move in. This way the landlord doesn’t have the option to keep your security deposit for damage caused by the previous tenants.
There’s only so much you can do yourself and perhaps one of the most useful tools is to ask the current tenants! They’ll give you a true and honest opinion and will probably be happy to answer any of your questions. You can easily connect with previous tenants on Student Angle by going to the comments section on a reviewed property. Just post you question and wait for a reply! It couldn’t be any easier!
If you live in a student house and haven’t already reviewed it for other potential tenants to see, make sure you submit one now! It only takes a few minutes and could be hugely beneficial to the next student tenants!