Sooo it's the beginning of a whole new year.. You've settled in halls, hurdled headfirst into uni life and in those first few months you've made some life long pals - after getting spectacularly smashed on all the money you've living off, sharing countless mortified memories from the night before and always struggling to remember where you actually live, you know its true friendship..
After stocking up your belly over Christmas, its finally time to go back.. and along with the fantastic joy of getting your next loan in (you know you'll blow it) comes the fabulous job of finding a place to live next year!
Now this shouldn't be too difficult - after all, you're in a student city, prices are cheap and you'll learn the hard way that if you actually spend money well, you won't be forced to buy Tesco Value beans in bulk (honest). And for those of us who get our act together, a house is found in a good location and cheap enough that we can still afford our love-hate relationship with that £8 bottle of Vodka (you know..)
Unfortunately, this hasn't been the case for my housemates and I. The last month of house hunting has been strenuously frustrating so if you don't want to end up like this or think you might get stressed about it, I thought I'd share some personal and valuable (I hope) advice with you lucky lot! ;)
Even though it's not part of the student way of life, make sure you're organised and start looking early - when you come back after Christmas really - prices depend on the location, but the good houses are still snapped up fast!
In my experience, it's usually cheaper to go with a private landlord - agencies charge you their fees on top of the deposit and first months rent and in some cases it can add up to paying near a grand up front! As a student there's no point spending a fortune, so ALWAYS ask about extra fees and what they'll cost you (university managed houses are also a good one as you can pay termly, so make sure you look at ALL your options.
Although I love my housemates, it has been difficult finding a house that everyone is pleased with and to be honest, if the house is fully intact and doesn't smell funky you can't afford to be too picky! It's very important that you can rely on each other as you'll usually have a joint tenancy, so if one of you can't afford the rent one month, it impacts on all of you. Make sure you have a group of like-minded people with similar thoughts on location and costs.
If you've come out of halls and pay a set amount each term, it can be difficult to keep on top of everything you'll need to pay when living in a house - set up a direct debit with your landlord on rent day each month so you're never late and always set aside the money you know you'll need to pay including bills - its common sense, but its all too easy to blow all your money when caught up in the student way of life and regret it later.. I learnt the hard way ;)
Well, these are the best tips I can give from my own experience - and as tempting as it is to cash out on as much cheap booze as we can consume without passing out, its fairly clear that every student needs an equal balance! Brighton is an amazing place to live and the nightlife is great, so I hope you have an amazing experience and uni! Claudia :)