As you find yourself in the midst of the second-semester stress, you can take comfort in the fact that you’re now fully settled in your student accommodation and can finally walk around your new hometown without the aid of Google Maps. We’re sure by now you’ve also become accustomed to finding half your weekly shop eaten by others, and you’ve acquired the skill of selective hearing (we never guaranteed you interesting flatmates!)It’s great that you now feel at home and we’re sure the anxiety of moving to university seems like a distant memory. As settled as you may be, unfortunately, you can’t live in student halls forever, and you need to start thinking about your student accommodation at university for next year.
Finding a house is a daunting prospect, and we understand you may not know where to begin. As usual, University Compare is here to help, and we’ve broken it down into easy to follow steps.
You may think you already have four great friends to share a house with next year, but we ask you to take the time to understand exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Sharing a house with friends is not the same experience as living in halls. In halls, you still get the luxury of a lock on your bedroom door and (in some cases) an ensuite bathroom. Living in a shared university accommodation means every area (except your bedroom) is communal. Think carefully about the type of housemate you are, and try to house share with like-minded people. You don’t want to spend your second year cleaning up after people who are more than happy to live in dirt.If you’re set on sharing with friends who have different ideas of clean living to you, try and come to a compromise. When you first move in, go over ground rules with each other, for example distributing chores fairly and work out how bills will be split. If everyone agrees to pull his or her weight, you can live happily together. Most importantly, don’t argue over petty things, there’s nothing that tests a friendship more than living together.
Once you’ve gathered your housemates, start scoping the area for the best student houses. Things to take into consideration are your university student budget, how far you’re willing to walk to university and how many rooms you need. The further out you go from the centre of town the cheaper your student accommodation will be (There are plenty of student university city guides, which will help you out, too). If you’re looking for something close for a reasonable price, we suggest starting your house hunt now ready to move in for August. It’s never too early, securing a house now saves you stress later on in the semester and you won’t find yourself walking for miles to get to lectures every day.
This is a very important aspect to remember when house hunting. An estate agents idea of ‘spacious’ may not add up to your expectations, and that fifth bedroom they told you about may turn out to be an old cupboard. We suggest taking someone else with you as a second pair of eyes to a viewing; your parents are always a good choice, as they’ve done it all before. Be on the lookout for anything that needs fixing before you sign as they may hold you responsible for it after you move in.
Student houses often come furnished, however, if you’ve found your perfect house in the perfect location, don’t write it off just because it doesn’t come with furniture. Filling your house doesn’t have to cost thousands, just don’t expect luxury for your budget. Local second-hand shops are great for students, get off your high horse and fill your house with cheap furniture that’s just as good as the new stuff (if only a little dated.) It’s in a second-hand shop because it isn’t needed, not because it’s broken. Another way to grab a bargain is to visit a favourite of University Compare’s, Gumtree. Reasonably priced, good quality furniture can be found on this popular website, and what’s more, it’s local, and prices can be haggled. It’s a great way to stock up on a student budget.
If you really don’t like the idea of second-hand furniture, a trip to your local Ikea is in order. Although very reasonably priced, Ikea is expensive for students, so we suggest heading straight to their famous bargain corners. Most Ikea’s have an area at the end of the store where ex-showcase furniture is dropped, and you can get yourself a bargain at 1/10th of the normal price for furniture.
Often painted a single colour throughout, student housing can get boring very quickly. Decorate your student university room with canvases, posters and photographs. You’ll be surprised how much a room can change just by adding a few personal touches. Although we will warn you before you begin blocking your favourite posters to the wall, some landlords have strict policies about this. Be sure to check with them first to avoid a fine at the end of your contract for Blu tac stains. (Yes – that’s a real thing! Be sure to make sure you know how to clean your student digs, here)
On the last note, we hope this isn’t the case, but you may be unfortunate enough to have a less than helpful landlord. If you find this is the case during a student property viewing, it’s important to be prepared with the right questions to ask and to know exactly what you should be looking for. Pointing out anything that is wrong with the property before you sign for it will help you to avoid any unjust fines at the end of your tenancy.
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