As a third year I have had 3 different housing situations; in my first year I was lucky enough to get into James Watson halls whilst my second and third years have been spent living in two different houses. Now, house hunting is exciting but it can also be frustrating and daunting so here are my top tips…
1) You don’t need to go through an estate agent!
Although agencies can seem easier and more beneficial – in the long run it is easier to go with a private landlord. Some agencies can be unhelpful and at the end of your tenancy they are notorious for billing students with extra cleaning/broken items. Nearly all agencies also carry agency fees with them which is basically you paying to sign documents. It’s all very silly! Instead try to find a private landlord… http://www.portsmouthstudentpad.com provide you with so many links to private landlords and houses. It’s also a good website if you’re flying solo looking for a house as there’s an opportunity to join a house share with people already signed up to the house.
2) Choose who you live with wisely
Living in a house is a WHOLE different world to living with someone in halls. Although halls feels communal it is when you live in a house together that you really find out about other people’s habits; sharing a bathroom, living area and kitchen… Work out who the best for you to live with are.. and remember that it’s ok to turn someone down. It might be awkward and feel offensive but you’re better off saying no than living with someone you might not want to for the next year!
3) Imagine yourself in the house
Booking viewings is great but when you see the house imagine yourself in it.. not the person that’s there. It might be difficult but when we viewed our current house all of the occupants were girls so there were make-up items, personal photos and girly bed covers.. two of my housemates are guys so they just had to imagine the rooms as blank canvases. Remember as well that they might not look in pristine condition because of the current tenants but landlords usually make sure everything that needs refurbishing gets done over Summer.. When you visit make sure you look for any signs of mould/damp/general damage.. this is a sign the house maybe isn’t for you
4) Join a deposit protection scheme!
This ensures that your deposit is safe and protected! It’s one of the most vital things you can do so ensure that your landlord does this and you have proof of this. Any issues in the long run and this ensures that your deposit is protected
5) Go with your gut
I was in a situation where the people I lived with found a house they liked.. but I wasn’t so sure. We visited another house and all 3 of us fell in love with it (and I still love it now).. imagine if we’d’ve gone with the first house?! Always trust your instincts and go with your gut. You might feel pressurised to say ‘yes’ because all the good houses have gone but realistically there will always be good houses and some may not be released until Summer time. If you have any doubts.. go view somewhere else.
Happy house hunting!!