Everything you need to know about second year house hunting in Bournemouth
If you do anything, just make sure you go to the viewing
It’s house-hunting season, and with less than a year under your belt at university you might be feeling a bit (or very) worried about finding a house for second year. Don’t worry!
Every first year has gone through this, and every first year you know is going through this currently. Here is everything you need to consider before you sign any contracts:
Before you get a house, you need housemates. These people are going to be who you see every day (or at least a lot) for a year. I know there is pressure to pick housemates soon but take time to consider who you want to live with! What kind of living scenario do you want? Do you want to live with party people, people you can cook/bake with, people who are hardcore studiers or people who keep more to themselves? Four is an ideal in terms of student housing, but there are options for all numbers. The danger of fallouts becomes larger the larger the group (but a two or three can be just as dangerous).
How to find housemates
Can’t find housemates? Use Facebook groups and university emails to see who has a spare room (AUB students email this a lot, so if you are a BU student try to befriend an AUB student who can forward them to you). There’s always the option of studio housing or further student accommodation, also.
When do you want to move into your new house? Do you want to move in straight away, or are you going to stay somewhere in-between tenancy dates? Are you storing your stuff in storage, at your family home or a mate’s house? Do you want to spend rent money on an early tenancy start if you will be elsewhere? Talk to your housemates and make a collective decision on when you want to move in so you can find a house contract that fits.
Start looking now
Good houses are going to go like – that. We literally lost a house we wanted to rent in the time it took us to get home from the viewing and sign the contract. Get looking and get out there at viewings. These houses will not hang around and if you wait too long you will be landed with one that may have not sold already for a reason.
Pick your bedrooms before you move in. Don’t say I’ll get the biggest one, or draw straws or anything. If you wouldn’t be comfortable living in any bedroom in the house, don’t rent it and expect someone else to. Go to a viewing, take videos and pictures, look at the house pictures online and allocate rooms. You will avoid so much stress.
What kind of garden do you and your housemates want? Is it a party-hosting garden? Avoid residential areas. Is it a private garden? Does it have a shed? Do you want to garden here? Do you need to have a garden?
Fight that mould with your life. It can literally kill you. No, it’s not your responsibility, it’s your landlord’s – but nine times out of 10, it probably will be. Get damp tramps, run a dehumidifier, put the extractor fan on, and wipe condensation off of the windows in the mornings. Never cease the fight.
If your landlord is ignoring a mould issue, tell your university or/and the council. They are obliged to provide a safe environment for you as a tenant.
Moving is expensive. Unless you have the mental energy to budget your way through the move-out and move-in period, you will be spending a lot of money. Costs to consider are:
- any moving van cost
- storage space costs
- buying takeaways when you have no food (or everything is packed)
- cleaning products
- any fines for the last property
- any new items / furniture you need for your new place.
Save up some money, borrow some money, or budget intensely to avoid going broke.
People are going to tell you to move to Winton. Winton is pretty much student house central, but there are plenty of other houses in other areas. Winton is appealing as it’s close to town and university as well as having its own high street decked out with cafes, charity shops and so many bus stops. I would personally advise moving to Winton because I didn’t in second year and I wish I had, but all areas have their own pros and cons to consider.
A small one but an important one. Do you need a washing machine and/or a tumble dryer? Do you have a clothes horse or a clothesline?
Go to the viewing. Do not miss the viewing. If your estate agent is pushing for you to buy without going to the viewing it could be because the house is bad. The viewing also gives you time to scout for what bedroom suits who, any local animals, and issues with the house like mould, electricity or damages. It also gives you the opportunity to talk to current tenants (if they are in) who can communicate pretty quickly if the house is nice to live in or not.
If you have to miss the viewing, study any video tours of the house you have. If you don’t have a video tour and haven’t been to a viewing, request another viewing. I’m dead serious, do not mess this bit up.
Read the contract
You should be reading all the contracts you sign, but if you only read one – read the tenancy agreement. Have someone check it over for any glaring red flags. Be aware of what you are signing yourself up for as there are usually financial repercussions if you aren’t.
The contract will have details about your deposit, rent, and when you are expected to pay the estate agents / landlord. You want to know about these in advance, not when your house soon-to-be housemate asks you for £425 on a random Wednesday. Read the contract!
Take pictures and report damage
When you move in, take pictures of everything. Alongside the inventory, this will be your only defense if the landlord tries to charge you for pre-existing damage. It’s also your chance to check everything is in working order and ask the landlord to fix things that were missed during the tenant changeover. Upload these pictures somewhere safe or email them to yourself.
Landlord and neighbours
Not an easy one to sus out. The ideal place to live is with neighbours who are friendly or keep to themselves and a landlord who cares enough to fix the house when it’s broken. This isn’t really something you can prepare for, more something to mentally prepare for. The only way to know this is to ask the current tenants how they feel about the landlord and neighbours and hope for the best.
If one thing that makes a student house a student home it’s a house cat. It’s not your cat, it just hangs out around or in your garden. A house cat is not essential, but it is special. Warning: a house cat can scare an allergic housemate, so if you have one – please don’t let the cat inside. Just hang out with it outside instead.
Related articles recommended by this author:
• These are the best places for a hangover cure breakfast in Bournemouth
• Seven random Bournemouth University moments that make you feel like an actual grown-up
• Bournemouth locals are angry that ‘noisy students’ are ‘ruining’ their weekends