Finding student accommodation can feel like an impossible task. Where do you even begin? Who should you move in with? How much rent should you be paying?! It can all get a bit overwhelming, so here are a few tips to help you decide what’s best for you.
When I first moved down to Brighton to study at BIMM, I didn’t know anyone, and had no clue how I was going to meet people to live with. The way I ended up meeting them was through a BIMM Brighton Fresher’s Facebook page. Everyone that was starting at BIMM Brighton that year were on a Facebook page, and people were constantly posting about finding housemates and accommodation.
In my case, someone advertised that they were looking for 6 more people to fill a 7 bed house. I messaged them and we quickly formed a group. We then met in person, and went to view the house together, and we secured the property. These Facebook groups are really simple to find – simply type in the search bar of Facebook: “BIMM (followed by the city/college you’re studying in) Freshers”, and then the year that you’re starting. Request to join, and it’s as easy as that!
Start Looking Early
It’s important to start looking fairly early on as student houses can get snapped up very quickly. When I was searching for accommodation for my second year at BIMM, I had secured the house I wanted in February, to move in August of that year. This can be tricky if you’re waiting to find out about A-Level/BTET exam results, and you’re not 100% certain if you’ll be moving, it’s always good to have a look around regardless, and get a feel for the market.
But How Do I Find Accommodation?!
There are loads of websites out there that can help you to find accommodation, such as Right Move, On The Market, Zoopla – the list is endless! Right Move even has a whole side of its website dedicated to student properties, so it’s really easy to filter through, and find a place that suits your needs. I’d also recommend contacting estate agents directly. Once you’ve started to sift through Right Move, have a look at the estate agents who are posting and advertising the properties, and start to contact them directly. If you call them or email them giving the details of what kind of property you’re looking for, price range, number of bedrooms etc, they can contact you as soon as something becomes available – sometimes before it’s even posted online – so you can be the first to know. And ALWAYS view a property before you put down any kind of deposit!
It’s a good idea to do some research into the estate agent before signing any contracts with them. From my personal experience, I’ve had some pretty lousy student estate agents. You want to make sure that they’re going to be proactive in any maintenance issues with the property, and that you’re going to get your deposit back at the end of the tenancy.
When moving and finding a house, budgeting is super important. Before I started university, I made a spreadsheet of my finances. It helped me to visualise my monthly expenses, and how much I’d be needing to earn in order to make everything work. The last thing you want to do is to sign a contract for a house that’s too expensive, and you’re constantly overworked and stressed about paying your rent. Money is going to inevitably be stressful, but I would advise to opt for the less fancy flat, and be able to pay your bills, do a food shop, and go out with friends to the pub, the cinema, or for a coffee. Do some research and gauge what the housing market is like in your area, be realistic and mindful of your situation, and see what works for you!
House hunting can be incredibly frustrating and disheartening. Every time I have had to search for a new place to live, it has been a really difficult process. Sometimes it can work out quite easily, but know that if it doesn’t, it’s ok! You’re going to find houses and lose them, but it always works out in the end. Keep looking, keep persisting, and the right thing will come your way.