My TOP house hunting tips
Your first year of university can sometimes feel a little bit strange.
It’s a bit like a massive networking event which never seems to end in which you’re constantly mentally surveying the people you come into contact with and also, searching for the traits which you think make an ideal house/flatmate for next year.
No doubt there are people you really can’t stand by this point. There will also definitely be some people who can’t tolerate being around you either. And that’s okay! What matters is making sure you find the right people to move into accommodation with next year…
How did I do this? Firstly, I started by looking at my options. This might sound incredibly obvious, but you have TWO choices…
- Live with other people
- Live by yourself
A lot of people forget the second option, but it’s worth keeping in mind. If you’re more introverted, or the thought of sharing a kitchen for another year is causing you to panic, and if you don’t mind renting a small room or a single bedroom flat… this might be the perfect solution!
Personally, I prefer being around people. I’m lucky that most of my flatmates became good friends and we spend a lot of time together. For me, it was an obvious choice to live with them next year, but don’t let this hold you back from declining to room with flatmates or friends.
Just because someone is a great friend doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll make the best flatmate in the world. You never know, living with a great friend who makes a terrible flatmate could cost you a perfectly good friendship or even worse, a best friend. I'd suggest not risking it!
Lastly, be prepared for a little turmoil and possibly even a confrontation. It’s likely that you might know people who have already assumed you’ll live with them (i.e. current flatmates) but haven’t asked. If you have differing opinions, expect some awkward conversations, but keep in mind that you need to make a decision that’s best for you. Put your happiness first, then other’s happiness after that. There's nothing wrong with that!
So, now that you’ve locked in the ultimate squad to share a house with, it’s time to find the dream castle that you’ll be calling home for at least the next year.
The best places to look first are regular estate agent; Rightmove, Zoopla, and S1homes are three of the biggest online real estate giants and great places to get some ideas about the type of property you want to rent. Alternatively, try using Gumtree to connect directly to landlords (but beware of the increased responsibility of the renter to understand and negotiate the lease contract).
For something a little different, Spareroom is a revolutionary website that connects potential flatmates. If you’re looking for flatmates and can’t find any around you, consider putting an advertisement on their site. It should be fairly easy to find people who share your interests and common values, as everyone has an 'about me' section - a bit like a dating site!
Lastly, remember not to stress. House hunting can be a stressful time, but chances are that there are thousands of people in your exact position. Take a deep breath, reach out to the people around you, and start working your way slowly through any problems that come your way.
And if it all gets a bit much, remember you can reach out to the Heriot-Watt Wellbeing Services for confidential support – they’re there for you!
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