Accommodation hunting can be a long and tiring process, especially if you’re not sure on important things to look for. We’ve collected some of our top tips to help you in your search!
Create a checklist
Before you even begin looking at properties, work out with your housemates what you need from your accommodation. Whether that’s somewhere with great communal space, or lots of storage or big bedrooms. It’s just useful to be in agreement of what you’re looking for before you start the process. Make sure you know what properties you are looking at, whether they’re part or fully furnished, or unfurnished with white goods. It’s important to know what you’re signing up to before you do.
Think about space
Be realistic and reasonable about how much space you need, especially if you’re a musician coming to BIMM with lots of equipment. You may need to be prepared to negotiate with housemates to agree on storage. Some people offer to pay a bit more rent than the others in order to have a bigger room. Even if it’s a small amount, showing that courtesy can be really important in keeping the peace. If you’re a group that would like to have a big communal space, you may need to be willing to compromise on bedroom size. When thinking about space, the most important thing is to be realistic about what you need, nothing too small or too big!
Test the water
This is such a quick thing to check and can be easily forgotten, don’t be afraid to turn on taps or showers, but remember to ask before you start running water. If you don’t feel confident in asking the tenants or estate agent, you can ask to use the toilet and test them on your own. To check water pressure is okay, it’s easiest to test the furthest tap or shower from the water source. If that works fine, it’s likely the rest will too. Check the toilet, taps and shower for any leaking and look for damp walls as they can be a sign of leaking pipes. The last thing you want is to be greeted with a big water bill because of a leak!
Ask about damp and mould
If you’re looking around an older building, this is particularly important. Damp and mould can cause health issues and damage your belongings. Make sure you’re aware of any damp and mould concerns before choosing accommodation and look for any tell tale signs. Look behind wardrobes or cupboards where they can be easily hidden and look to see if the current residents have dehumidifiers or anything in place to treat damp and mould. It certainly isn’t a nice thing to have to deal with!
Check structural arrangement
Look around to see where radiators are placed, if they are blocked by furniture, you may want to rearrange things to let heat circulate properly in the winter months. You definitely don’t want to waste money on heating. Be mindful of the general arrangement of the property, think about the proximity between communal areas and bedrooms, if you’re a light sleeper it’s probably best to be further away from louder areas or the front door. Consider where windows are placed and how many there are. It’s important to have a lot of natural light as not only is it nice, you will spend less money on lighting, always a bonus!
Speak to the current tenants
This might seem quite daunting, however in my experience, most tenants would be more than happy to talk to you about the property. Ask them if they have had any issues with the property or landlord. It’s far more useful to speak to people and find out their experiences than discovering complications after you’ve already move in. If you don’t feel comfortable asking these questions in front of an estate agent, you can wait until the viewing is over and the estate agent has left and go back to ask if they tenants wouldn’t mind answering some questions.
There’s certainly lots of things to consider when you view somewhere, but remember not to get too bogged down in a big list of requirements. The best thing to judge whether somewhere is right for you, is if you can see yourself living their happily and comfortably!