November 18, 2016, by Janice
What I Wish I Knew Before I Started House Hunting
As I sat in the library typing this blog post, I couldn’t help but overhear a group of first-year students discussing their housing plans. I felt a sudden sense of nostalgia as I thought back to two years ago when I made the most adult decision of my life so far — I (together with my housemates) rented a house!
As house hunting season comes to a start, I thought I’d share my two cents on finding the student house of your dreams…
- Location, location, location
Most students choose their homes according to its distance from their respective faculties. Studying sciences? Lenton and Dunkirk would be good choices. Studying in Jubilee? Lenton. Studying social sciences and history? Beeston!
Besides that, bear in mind its distance from the nearest grocery store / supermarket. This will make grocery shopping much more easier, especially when you have a truckload of groceries to take home.
2. Getting started
The ideal time to look for a house is from mid-November till the end of semester one (mid-December). You can find a house through either private landlords or real estate agencies. Websites such as Unipol are resourceful in searching for reliable private landlords. There are various real estate agencies in the student areas of Lenton, Dunkirk and Beeston — you will be spoilt for choice!
3. Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions when viewing a house. Relevant questions might include:
- Whether the property suffers from damp
- The insulation of the house (some houses have poor insulation and might rack up your heating bills over the winter)
- Try asking the current tenants whether the landlord / agent can be easily contacted or is prompt with repairs
4. Pay attention to the little details
I remember having never read a tenancy agreement in my life. Its very easy to get lost in the sea of words and jumping straight to the signature column. But, its always better to be safe than sorry. Here are a few things to pay attention to when reading a tenancy agreement:
- Move in and move out dates: Some tenancy contracts don’t start until September, or some might end in June. So always check these dates just in case you were thinking of moving in or staying back over the summer holidays.
- Does the rent include bills: Students sometimes assume that the rent includes bills, but this is not always the case. Try enquiring further about the type of bills included in the rent and how much on average the bills would be on top of the rent you pay.
- Deposit: Landlords are legally obliged to register a tenant’s deposit under a deposit protection scheme. They must inform tenants of which scheme they’re using within 30 days of receiving the deposit.
P.S. When in doubt, do not hesitate to consult the Student Advice Centre on campus.