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Five warnings when it comes to second year house hunting

A Place in the Sun: Selly Oak edition

Worried that you’re going to end up homeless in second year? Fear not, here are 5 top tips that will land you your dream pad in Selly.

Picking housemates

First things first, to get a house, you’ve got to fill a house, and that means finding a good group of people to live with for the next year of your life. Picking housemates can seem daunting at first. These are the people that can either make or break your year. Pressure’s on, but don’t just settle. If you’ve spent the whole of the semester telling your course mate about how James never does the washing up, even though 90% of it is his moulding mugs, then don’t live with him in second year. There are lots of other ways to meet people that you’ll enjoy living with. Make sure you check the Fab’n Fresh page for people posting about housing, or take the first step and ask that girl you chat with every seminar if they’ve sorted anything yet.

The chase is on
So you’ve assembled the avengers, now it’s time to find an HQ. We’ve all been there. You checked Purple Frog on Monday, and call a meeting with the squad to chat about a viewing on Wednesday. After giving them a ring you’re left feeling sad and disheartened because some other snakes have gone and snapped up your future pad. When getting your second year house, the chase is well and truly on, and Bradders isn’t there to help you home this time. Reading week is the cut off. After reading week, you need to be ready to jump on any opportunity to see a potential house. Even if all of your housemates can’t be there for the viewing, you have to take any chance you can get, because I promise you, someone will get your house if you don’t get there first. I’ve experienced friends turning up for a viewing on their favourite place, only to find out mid viewing that the house has just been taken.

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Location, location, location
In the words of Phil and Kirsty, it’s all about location. After spending the whole of first year sheltered on the Vale, branching out into the big wide world of Selly Oak can seem like a minefield to navigate. People will bombard you with names like Dawlish and Bournbrook, and you’ll wonder, where ARE these places? Choosing a good location is one of the most important aspects of getting a second year house. Some advice my housemate got was ‘never go past number 100 on any road if you want to avoid a trek every day.’ Harrow, Alton and Bournbrook are the closest roads to the petrol station, the Gym, and the Guild so any Fab fans, theatre lovers or fitness fanatics, these roads may be good for you. Dawlish and Tiverton are in the middle of Selly, and have the best access to the cut through onto campus, the bars and the take-away’s. And finally, Heeley and Hubert are at the top of Selly, close to the station, Aldi and Sainsbury’s so if you’ve got the cash to blow on a big shop, you may want to consider living there.

‘Don’t worry about the damp.’

So you’ve got your road, now it’s time to get a house. Not going to lie, at first, halls might seem like The Ritz compared to some of the houses you’re going to view whilst scouting out your first place. You’ll experience the house with mysteriously stained carpet, the one with the funny smell that slaps you around the face upon entrance, and worst of all, the damp house. As much as your landlord may promise you that ‘it’s only temporary’ and ‘it will all be fixed by the time you move in,’ this is never the full story. AVOID THE DAMP HOUSE AT ALL COSTS. However, don’t just pick a house based on what it looks like when you view it. Just because the current tenants don’t seem to care about it, doesn’t mean that it can’t become your dream pad once you and the gals roll out your fluffy rug and fairy lights. Houses with personality often end up being the best ones because there’s more room to decorate and do what you want with the place, plus, a lived in house means that no one’s going to notice if you spill a bit of your vodka Red Bull on the floor during pres.

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Crime scene

Can you pay your Bills?
Now for the serious stuff. Bills. This is probably the biggest difference between the Vale and Selly. For the lucky few, your bills will be included in your rent, but for the rest of us, you’re now in charge of all your own bills. You’ve got to fend for yourself now. The top tips for Bills are pretty simple. Do not get roped into paying for everything, make sure you delegate something out to everyone, and make sure that people set up a standing order so you don’t end up sorting the bill yourself when Sophie promises you she’ll ‘get the money to you next week babe,’ no matter how much she may ‘promiseeeeeeee.’ Look into bill management companies like Glide, and they’ll do all the heavy lifting for you. You only need one TV licence for the whole house, and scout around for the best WiFi deals. Aside from bills, make sure you’re getting your money’s worth out of your house. For a five bedroom house, look for something between £320-£440 a month per person, and obviously that will vary depending on whether you have slightly less or slightly more people.

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Main thing about all this is, don't stress too much. You're probably not going to get exactly what you want, but I promise you can 60 minute makeover anything with a couple of polaroids and some empty pre's bottles.