It’s that time of the year again.
The Christmas lights are up, Michael Bublé’s husky voice is blaring through the speakers in the supermarkets and the distinctive smell of despair and stress floats in the air. Because not only is it the season of love and generosity, it is also the season of house hunting.
Stressed out yet? Don’t worry. We have summed up the most important things you need to know in order to find the perfect house and we will also provide you with some useful links – because we are generous like that.
First of, here is a mini check-list that needs ticking off, in order for you to move on to the more serious decision-making process:
- Decide who you’re going to live with
This is probably the most difficult decision. Finding the perfect housemates is like finding the love of your life at Corp – it hardly ever happens.
- Decide an area in which you would like to live in
Most people aim to live as close to the campus as possible. If they could, they would live in the lecture theatre itself, because who doesn’t love rolling out of bed at 8.40am and still be able to make it to your 9am? Don’t forget that renting a place within close proximity to the university might turn out to be more expensive than renting a place that is within a reasonable walking distance.
- Figure out common priorities (do you want a big bedroom? en-suite?)
You potentially end up deciding that you’d rather have a big bedroom and a small kitchen, than a big kitchen and a small bedroom.
Once this is out of the way, the tedious task of finding a property that actually all of you like begins. Have a look at as many websites as possible (you can find a list of them at the end of this article) or visit the property estates directly and arrange viewings.
It is sometimes hard to recognise potential problems in the heat of your excitement about the latest flat screen the landlord has put in the living room, so here is a list of things to look out for when you’re viewing a property:
Look out for slugs and mice
Make sure to check the carpets and tiles for slug trails or mice droppings because let’s be real, no one wants unexpected pets living with them.
Most houses in Sheffield are quite damp, bad ventilation being one of the reasons, as it creates an ideal condition for mould to flourish. Not only does it look nasty, it is also hazardous to your health.
Location, security and neighborhood
Keep in mind that living in a popular area unfortunately does not only attract students but thieves as well. Make sure your house has a burglar alarm and that the windows are equipped with a bolt.
It is also a good idea to check out who is living next door. If you are in an area with a school, it might not bother you at night, but their noisy lunch break might intervene with your designated afternoon nap.
Check which appliances will be there for when you move in (not when you view the house). Forget clothes and alcohol. Having a microwave and a washing machine are the new uni essentials!
Insulation, water supply and maintenance
Are the windows double glazed? Are the rooms cold? People tend to forget that poorly insulated rooms mean high costs in heating. Try to go and view the property you like most at different times of the day, as this could bring things to light that would’ve stayed hidden otherwise (timed heating, lighting conditions…).
Also, make sure you know the landlord’s responsibilities as well as your own when it comes to maintaining the property.
When you view a property, don’t forget to take pictures or ideally a video. It makes things a lot easier in the end stage of your decision making process and as we know, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Talk to the existing tenants, because who will know better what it’s like living there, than them?
Here are some commonly used letting agencies and a video with additional information about what to look out for: