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House Hunting: Advice from a third year

By JordanBrowzer 30 Oct 2018

Second semester is fast approaching and you'll soon be thinking about where you want to live next year.

The important thing to remember is to not rush into anything! Being a third-year student in a shared house, I've picked up some tips for finding the best accommodation...

First-year mistakes

When moving time came around in first year, Accommodation Services and Hallam Union sent out lots of info to stop everyone rushing into renting. Other people were telling us to hurry before all the best ones went. 

The pressure to get the best house was overwhelming so we chose to look at houses before Christmas. Seven of us got together to look at housing websites, leading us to a viewing within the week.

We ended up loving the first and only house we viewed and thought we wouldn’t find better. The landlady told us she had three other viewings (classic sales trick!) and we all felt under pressure to sign the contract, so we did that same night...

The result

Although the house was nice, I ended up with a Harry Potter-esque broom cupboard for a bedroom, with no desk space to work! After Christmas, there were still plenty of houses up for rent, and after seeing a house that other friends found, it was clear we had rushed into renting too early.

So, for our third-year house, we did things differently...

The reality

Halfway through second year, it became clear that living with 7 people was too much, so some of us decided to downsize to a 4-bed and the rest wanted to move back into uni halls. You may think living with loads of people is all fun and games, but trust me, when everyone is stressed with uni work it can get tense!

Rather than look before Christmas when we were all busy with deadlines, we waited until we were all back as it’s always important that everyone gets to see the house.

Moving Forward

Before we even begun we made a list of things we ALL wanted from the house. We went to loads of landlords and letting agents and booked viewings.

After seeing them, we took time to discuss, picked our 2 favourites and went to take a second look. Having a second viewing allowed us to check things like the local area and security of windows and doors.

Learning from mistakes

Daunted by the whole process before second year, we were afraid to ask questions. So this time, we made a list about anything we were unsure about. We then had a vote before going to sign the contract, and although the house I live in now can get a bit chilly, I have space to actually move!

If I'd known what I knew this year when finding our first house, the whole process would have been a lot easier...


Take your time in choosing the people you live with, the location you want to live in, and the house you want to spend a whole year in!

Look out for the Don't Sign Early campaign and Housing Fairs run by the Students' Union. Accommodation Services also have lots of tips about renting, including a list of approved landlords. 

You can also chose to live in halls in your second, third and fourth years if you want to!

Happy hunting!

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