by Ed Firmin
Posted on Monday, November 16th, 2015 at 10:00
It’s that time already! You’ve probably only just felt like you’ve settled into university, and we’re talking about houses for next year?
It’s true, I’ve just started to advertise properties for the academic year 2016/17, so it’s really best to start thinking about where you want to live and who you want to live with.
You really don’t want to leave this until the last minute, as all the good properties will be snapped up, and you don’t want to be disappointed and feeling like you have to settle with what’s remaining.
So my advice? Start having conversations with your friends and once you’ve worked out who your new flatmates are going to be, then I would sit down with them and decide what area you want to live in, what a realistic budget would be for all of you, and start research properties that fit that criteria. That way, you’ll be able to see what you can expect for the amount you want to pay in rent.
You may have to compromise on certain features, it’s likely that you’re not going to get an ensuite bathroom, or if one of your party can’t afford as much rent as the rest of you, then you’ll have to take that into consideration. It might be that you need to look at a property with a smaller room so that person can pay less than the rest of you.
You should probably write a list of necessities that you all agree aren’t negotiable, such as transport links, internet connection, etc. Then a list of nice-to-haves that could be done without if needed, such as a garden, or a double bed in each room.
It’s really important that you agree this before you start viewing any properties, as it’s easy to get swayed by a house that may look amazing but is way out of your budget. You don’t want to overstretch yourself and put yourself in debt all for a property that you’re only going to live in for a maximum of two years (if you stay in the same one!).
Then I would arrange a number of viewings as soon as you can. Arrange a date where you can all be together, perhaps a Saturday morning, and then view four or five in one go. Take notes, pictures too if you need, and then weigh up the pros and cons for each property before deciding on a shortlist/the one/that you need more viewings. You all need to be happy and feel like you’ve come to a mutual decision before you sign anything, otherwise one or more of you may feel resentful down the line.
If you would like advice on what areas you should consider, what you can get for your budget, and dos and don’ts to look out for when viewing properties, then please get in touch, I’m happy to go through the process with you to reassure you.