So the start of another University year, and before long the question will be “Have you found your house yet?”. Here in Aberystwyth, the search for student houses tends to kick off early (a little too early for our liking), around October, with the Students Union holding a Housing Fair at the tail end of November.
So what can we do to help? We’ve put together some top tips when searching for your student house, hopefully to give you a bit of a helping hand.
- Choose your housemates carefully – this is one of the reasons we think the housing search starts a little early, especially for 1st year students. How well do you know your new flatmates, well enough to make a decision on who you can live with in more private quarters? Do your housemates like to party until the early hours? Do they have a part time job? Are they tidy?
- Start your search early (bear with us!) – start early but don’t jump into anything! There are so many houses and flats in Aberystwyth, so take your time looking around – yes some will be snapped up within the first 2 weeks of lists being published, but if you get your eye in you’ll spot a good house at a great value.
- Sweat the small stuff – get as much as possible from your new house, to save you being bogged down when you move in. Many houses now offer inclusive bills (yipee), WiFi, TV Licence – it’ll save you a lot of time when your contract starts as you won’t need to set anything up or get money off your fellow housemates to pay the bills.
- What’s worse than asking hundreds of questions on a viewing? Asking none at all! If you don’t ask, you won’t know – and also, if you go away not having asked anything, imagine what impression you may give on the letting agent or landlord. Come prepared with questions such as:
- How much is the deposit? Where does it get registered?
- When does the contract start?
- What months do the reduced summer rent cover?
- What exactly is included in the rent?
- Is there contents insurance?
- Before you start viewing – agree on a budget. Shop around for houses that are above and below (you never know, you can barter…) to get your eye in, but always agree on the budget from the beginning. We’ve seen it many times in groups where they love a house, decide to apply and one has to drop out because they simply can’t afford it – that means finding a replacement tenant or a new house!
- Google map is your best friend – make a list of houses you want to see, and the Google map their location. Aberystwyth is quite small anyway but even in this small town, a group of 6 might have very different ideas! Living near the beach, leaving on Penglais Hill etc. Also as a student you have no idea which streets are where (we’ve all been there), so an obscure street like Custom House Street is actually just a stone throw from the town centre & South Beach!
- Think you’ve found the property for you? Explore the immediate area first – how close is the nearest bus stop (for those days when walking up Penglais Hill just isn’t going to happen), how close is the nearest convenience shop?
- Here’s a big one, and more so for the larger groups of friends searching – be ready to compromise. Found the perfect house but it’s across town from where you wanted?
- Check the contract – you are well within your right to ask to see a draft contract before you apply for a property, so make sure you do! Application fees are usually non-refundable, and it’d be a pain to apply and then find something horrible in the contract that you can’t agree to!
We hope we’ve help somewhat, and if you had any questions just send us a message! We’re here to help and be helpful.