University: The House Hunting22.11.12
Hi guys! Most of you probably have started thinking about looking for a house for second year. Or maybe you have short-listed the people t...
Most of you probably have started thinking about looking for a house for second year. Or maybe you have short-listed the people that you want to live with. If you haven't, well do it now. You do not want to be in a situation where you have to approach some random people that you don't know that well and asking if you could live with them, whilst the people that you want to live with already made plan.
Luckily, people I wanted to live with, I already lived with. So, I know that when I live with them, there won't be any weird surprises. Although, I had to actually get used to having shared bathroom (ahh, the luxury of an en-suite, which turns out to be completely unnecessary by the way). Sometimes sharing bathrooms with guys can be quite nasty but we have three toilets so one for girls, one for boys and one for guests.
Whilst hunting for a house, I could clearly remember the stress when I was searching for the houses that looks nice enough for the budget that we set (£80 per week). It was quite hard to arrange a day where all seven of us are free. We went to check out so many houses and many were pure rubbish. I mean one of them was telling us that they are planning on expanding the kitchen and it will be done by the time we move in. Even though, they don't even have planning permission yet. So, when looking for a house, think about how the house is when you see it and whether you'd be happy to live there now. Don't forget to ask the current students about how they are finding the house/landlord. One of the house had very strange partition where the wall was a bit like triangle. Also, one of the house was so bad that we only saw the ground floor and thought "nah! lets leave". Also when you go to look at a house (especially if you are not going to arrange a time with the landlord first), please don't turn up at awkward time like 10am because that happened to us once and most of us are either at uni or getting ready to go to uni. It's just awkward for everyone.
Even though our budget was £80 per week but due to the fruitless search for a decent house in that budget. We decided to look at some houses with higher budget of £85 per week. Finally, we managed to find a few houses that we could imagine ourselves living in. There are still some flaws but definitely nothing major. One of the house was all single-glazed (a bit of a problem when you live in England and want to have warm house) but the house itself is so lovely. We dismissed it because of the fear of the heating bill. Another one that we really like and nearly went for has one problem that one room is just way smaller than the others. So we decided to look at more houses that the company has and found another house with pretty much the same layout that we finally choose but the only difference is that one of the shower doesn't have a toilet in it, it just has a separate room for toilet which was pointless and weird. This let us to the final house which is pretty much as perfect as it is going get whilst looking for seven people house. One room still slightly smaller than the other but it's nicely laid out. Two showers and three toilets.
What's more is that the original price on the website is £85 but when we went to take a look at the house, we were told £82. However, by that time I started to panic a little bit when I was thinking about the cost of bill on top of the rent. So, the company reduced the price down to £80. I still wasn't happy because I thought that £80 was the maximum budget (considering I knew people paying about £60 for their house). In the end, I was like "can they reduce the price a bit more" (by this time people were really panicking because we didn't want to lose the house to someone else, don't panic and don't get rush into a decision). To our surprise, the agreed to £78, we happily accept. So, my advice is never accept the first offer, negotiate, negotiate and negotiate. I find that it helps to be very early about this because good houses get snapped up quite quickly (mainly odd number rooms houses like 7, because there are plenty of good houses with 4 bedrooms etc.) and companies would rather rent out their houses instead of leaving them empty for a year. Also by being a keeno and extremely early means that you eliminate the potential competitions.
When looking for houses, remember location because you don't want to be finding yourself in a rough area (I say that but I'm living in the most burgled area, like ever!) or an area that is too far away from your uni because you know you are never going to bother to turn up. Check if the house has burglar alarms (a house we saw has bars across their windows...I'd feel like I'm living in prison), washing machine, fridge (you'd be surprise that some houses doesn't provide this), double-glazing and some furnitures like sofas, beds, wardrobes, desk and chairs (again, for a house we saw, the tenants have to go and buy their own desks and chairs in Ikea, so check!). Most importantly, don't sign anything until you are 100% sure.
That's all from me, a bit of advice and my experience about this thing. Hope you enjoyed it :)
Tell me your horror stories (if you have any about your house-hunting experience) or any story...