January 11, 2013, by Gemma
House Hunting in Nottingham
After exams, the streets of Nottingham become pretty full of students looking for houses for the next academic year. Some have booked appointments to be shown round by the landlord, others just knock on doors with letting agency signposts. Both are wise options, the latter more so when houses start to get snapped up quickly.
Propertywide, a dedicated property website, conducted a survey in March 2012, and found that 85% of 5,000 students surveyed were unsure where to start when it came to house hunting.
The first step is to know how many people will be in your household. What are you going to do with a 6-bedroom house for your group of 3?! But don’t worry if you’re not in a group yet, single lets are available to rent too. You should all discuss what type of features you prefer in a house (such as number of bathrooms and proximity to Uni). This makes searching for properties a lot easier.
But which house?
72% of students didn’t remember to ask about the Gas Safety Certificate or smoke alarms. 83% forgot to check the taps worked or if the property was structurally sound. These are vital checks that literally take a few seconds of your time.
Be prepared to compromise on the things you think constitute a “perfect house”. You can’t have your cake and eat it too! So if you have a list of demands like a double bed and sofa in your bedroom, amazing furnishings, en-suite bathrooms for everyone, and a butler, but a budget of £65 a week, you will need to cut down on your demands…or win the lottery.
I also recommend talking to the students currently living in the house you are visiting. Ask them about any problems they have had while living in the property, such as mould or a horrible landlord. Be prepared for problems that even they didn’t encounter… In my house last year, it turned out there was a hole in the cupboard leading from the kitchen to the outside, which one opportunistic rat took advantage of. In the middle of the night, my housemate created a barricade out of tables and chairs in the kitchen to try and lure it out, while the rest of us fled or took refuge on higher ground.
Don’t choose a house because it’s right next to your favourite pub. Think about how many times you will actually be in the pub, and the noise you might encounter late at night when you’re trying to revise.
Here’s a useful print-out to take with you when you’re house hunting. It covers all the essentials.
So don’t rush and sign contracts for the first house you see. And don’t be swayed to sign by promises of planned redecorating or installation of a 60-inch tele.
Do ask questions and do be prepared to compromise.
Happy house hunting! 🙂