Being a student is regarded as the best years of your life and there’s nothing more exciting than moving out of halls to live with a group of friends for the year. The best thing for you all to do is the financial research before you choose where to live because an affordable property is going to lead to a less stressful year; be aware of the costs and save where you can to put more money back into your pocket.
What you need to consider
- Bills – make sure you know what to expect in terms of expenditure each month. Money management is imperative as a student so setting up a spreadsheet with your loan and your highest estimated outgoings will give you a definitive amount to allow for treats and going out. You can organise your bills with your roommates on websites like split the bills.
- Food – One of the best ways to save money as a student is to get together a few times a week and cook big meals together. A chilli for 6 will work out far cheaper than everyone buying and cooking their own separate food.
- TV License – In halls your TV license is per room, however when you’re renting a property this will be per house so you can split the cost. Remember though, even if you decide not to have a shared TV you have to have a TV license if you watch live TV on your PC or laptop.
- Council Tax – If you’re a full-time student you can eliminate this cost as you’ll be exempt. Part-time students however, still have to pay their council tax.
Choosing your property
This is the hardest task as you will be viewing properties without any experience of what to look for and it’s easy to fall into the common pitfalls people make. Whether your choose to make use of expert advice or not, the essential thing is to make sure you and your roommates are going to be comfortable where you’re living, make sure it gives you easy access to your university and a route into the city for when you want to go on nights out. Heating bills are a big consideration and you can make a direct comparison of houses by looking at the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
Your personal safety should be a consideration, choose an area that you are comfortable to come home to late at night and ensure that your house complies with all of the latest fire regulations as fires are much more likely to start in shared houses than family homes.
Choosing who to live with
It may seem like a no brainer to choose the four people who you hit it off with in the first year to live with in the second but take the time to consider whether they are going to pull their weight and make it an enjoyable experience.
Consider whether you can:
- Trust the people you’re living with
- Be comfortable they are organised with their money
- Still be enjoying their company six months down the line
- Trust they are all sensible enough to keep the property in a good condition
- Trust them to respect you when you want to study and not party
Things To Avoid
One thing for students to look out for is the type of heating in the property. Night storage heaters can be a difficult to control because the heat is input and stored at night and released during the day when it may not be needed as the weather is warmer or you are at university.
The biggest thing to avoid is an unhelpful landlord (which is where we come in and help). No one expects students to be able to get everything right as renting your first place is a big step and people like us are there to make sure landlords don’t take advantage of that.
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