So you’ve found your housemates, decided on location, logged into accommodationforstudents.com and drawn up a shortlist of great properties. Now it’s time for the viewings!
There’s a certain art to viewing a student property, especially in very competitive areas, so make sure you’re prepared!
1. Take all your housemates
Dragging yourselves to the other side of town to view a property you might not even like may seem like a waste of time. However, sending no one but the person who has somehow emerged as ‘In Charge’ of the whole process (trust us, someone always will) is a big mistake.
Once ‘In Charge’ has reported back to the rest of the group and you’ve organised a second viewing for the rest of you to see it, some other savvy students will undoubtedly already have snatched it up.
2. Don’t be influenced by the queue
For properties in competitive areas, there may be a huge line of students waiting to view the house or flat. It’s tempting to think ‘everyone else wants this place, I must have it!’ and sign the lease before you’ve even had a look inside.
Next thing you know you’re moving into a house with no oven, a bedroom that is somehow smaller than the bed that’s in it, and a shower that only has two settings - absolute zero and broken.
3. Ask the boring questions
Is the furniture included? Is there a washing machine? How long in the lease? How is the electricity and gas calculated? Yeah, OK. We’re boring ourselves with this one, so we can only imagine how you feel. But they *need* to be asked. Trust us.
4. Check out the standard of upkeep
If the house has been inhabited by five heavy drinking, chain smoking, non-washing rugby players for the last year, the superficial upkeep may be low. Try and look past this, as the property will (hopefully) be cleaned before you move in.
However, things like broken furniture, a mouldy bathroom and doors hanging off their hinges are probably a sign of a landlord who doesn’t take much time to update his property.
5. Speak to the current tenants
If the students who are currently living in the property are lurking nearby during your viewing, it’s worth asking them how they’ve found living there. Ask them how the landlord is at responding to problems, what the neighbours are like, how they get to uni and where the nearest supermarket is.
Having a family with a handful of screaming kids next door or an old man who is against the concept of young people having fun living in the flat upstairs can make all the difference.
6. Consider the location
If it’s your perfect property but is miles from university and the rest of your mates, think seriously before compromising. You may optimistically think ‘the exercise is good for me!’.
You will NOT be thinking this - or any other happy thoughts for that matter - when you’re trudging to and from university in the rain for hours every week.
7. Speak to the letting agent
If the property is great but the price isn’t, it’s always worth asking if there’s any flexibility in the price. If not, and none of you plan to be there in the summer, ask if the lease can be reduced to ten months. It will save you wasting two month’s rent on a house you’re not even living in!
Make sure you don’t pay over the odds by checking out the average rental prices for your area here http://www.accommodationforstudents.com/city_information/student_reviews.asp
Most importantly, do not panic! There is plenty of student accommodation out there, and we post properties throughout the year, so don’t worry if you feel you’ve left it too late.
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