Starting to think about next years house?
Once you've worked out who you want to live with, it's time to start shopping! But unlike browsing the high-street, house shopping requires a little more thinking - that means no impulse buys!
Keep these 10 things in mind...
- Shop around
Don't just go for the first house you view, even if it seems perfect. Make sure you shop around first and weigh up your options before signing anything.
Always check walls, ceilings, and cupboards for damp. It's not always the responsibility of the landlord or estate agent but, if you do see any, raise it with them and request for it be resolved before you move in. Damp can lead to bad smells, damp clothes or health problems.
Admin, inventory, and credit reference fees can all add up before you've even moved in. So, before you agree to anything, ask the agency for a full list of costs upfront so you can try and negotiate with them and work out what you're paying.
- What's actually included?
It's difficult to not get sucked in by a property fully kitted out, but, items like microwaves, hoovers, ironing boards and TVs aren't always included. Make sure you ask beforehand so you know what you and your friends need to buy!
- Location, location, location
Use CheckMyStreet to find out crime stats and average rental prices in the area before you rent. It's also important to consider how far you want to be from the uni, town, and train station.
Ask for cost estimates on gas, electricity, and water. It’s easy to forget about these but, they need to be given some thought so you can budget. If they aren't included in rent, find out your provider and make a note of meter readings when you move in.
- Don't rush into anything
Take photos, ask questions and explore every nook and cranny. You'll regret it during summer when you're trying to work out what will fit in your room. Also, turn on taps, showers and kitchen hobs, and raise any issues.
- Current tenants
If you're lucky enough to see the current tenants, use this to your advantage. Ask them whether they're happy with the property, location, and landlord - if not, why not?
Check the property has a working alarm system, fire extinguishers, and fire blankets. Check windows and doors have safety locks, and if you want locks for your bedrooms, ask if the property is allowed them.
While you don't want to rush into getting a house, you also don't want to leave it too late. If you've found a property you're happy with (considering the above), don't wait for other people to beat you to it.