How to survive house-hunting

Tips on how to make the most out of it

House hunting, anyone who has done it already will probably tell you that it can get a little stressful at times.

Why is this? There are a combination of factors: the unsettling process of deciding on a group to live with; the pressure to find a house that everyone agrees on and not to mention the added time pressure of finding somewhere good before they all go.

Whilst these things may not be avoidable, it is possible to survive the house-hunting process by finding ways to beat the stress.

Here are some handy tips I have been using to stay calm in the run up to finding a new place to live…

The nine lovely people I’m living with this year (I didn’t miscount, one missed the shot)

It’s okay, you will sort out your group…eventually:

You’ll end up alone or you’ll end up with a group that fight constantly, or maybe a messy group that never does the dishes.

Ever had these concerns or something close? You’re probably not alone. It’s completely normal to worry about the group you choose to live with, they’re the people you’ll have to spend a lot of time with after all.

However, it is worth remembering that if you’ve lived in halls first year and survived then you’ve already managed to find a way to live with a group of people who you’d never even met before. You got through that so you can get through it again with no problem.

Chances are you will end up living with some of the great friends you made during your year as a fresher anyway so as long as you have a few people close to you then you’ll be fine.

Dirty dishes piling up in the sink? Not the end of the world.

Living in a nice house was a priority for me and the place we’re in now definitely ticks the box!

Work out your priorities:

Before you begin your search for a new place to live in I think it’s important to work out what your priorities are.

Is the thing that you’re most concerned about the location of your new house? The price? Maybe you’re not even too bothered by the house and it’s just the group you select that is the most important?

It’s worth knowing the things that you prioritize so that you can find a house more easily.

If you’ve ever watched programmes like home and away or location, location, location you will have listened to couples describe the things they are looking for in their new house. It has to be large, close to the sea, generous sized garden, pool and to top it off it has to be affordable to fit into their stingy budget.

The presenter has the task of breaking it to them that it may not be possible to find somewhere that ticks all the boxes and so you have to think realistically too.

If you’re prepared to be flexible and make some compromises I assure you that you’ll have a better chance of picking a house.

We managed to find a fantastic house in Clifton

Be optimistic but realistic:

One of the hardest things about growing up is facing up to reality.

I hate to break it to you but house hunting is an experience that forces you to be realistic. If you’re lucky enough to have a limitless budget, chances are you’ll find the process the most relaxing in the world but for the rest of us, trying to find a nice house within a budget is a challenge.

It can feel a little draining at times searching through pages and pages of houses on the internet that look amazing but are out of your budget but don’t give up. Just because you have to be realistic it doesn’t mean you can’t remain optimistic.

Before we found the house we were living in this year we must have done at least five house viewings and countless internet searches.

Each new house we visited seemed worse that the one before but I think we did a good job of remaining positive. We continuously assured each other that we would find somewhere to live and in the end we did.

It won’t seem grey for long…the sun will come out eventually!

Look on the bright side:

Although it sounds corny, I really do think that trying to look on the bright side of any situation makes it easier to handle.

One of the main ways I have found it easier to cope with house hunting is making light of the bad experiences, laughing about horrible houses you trapsed around and the difficulties of being poor students with measly housing budgets.

It’s important to remember as well that whilst you may be forced to live in houses that aren’t up to your high standards whilst you at university, you’ll probably be able to afford somewhere nicer one day.

Imagine sitting in your future house when you’re older, an open fire warming the room and a good film playing on your forty inch screen. You’ll be able to look back fondly on your twenties when you worried about whether you’d be able to afford the bills and laugh at the funny experiences you overcame.

My beautifully zen work-space

You can make any house a home:

It’s easy to have moments when you feel pessimistic whilst doing house viewings.

I remember going round countless houses where the tea towels were in a pile on the floor, the kitchen surfaces were covered in crumbs and the sinks full of dirty dishes.

University students, unsurprisingly, don’t seem to prioritise cleanliness. Remember when you’re looking around a house, however, that it may look completely different when you move in. Once you’ve given the kitchen a clean, brought in some lamps, plants and fairy lights the room will look completely different.

To emphasise the point, the house I’m living in now for second year, is a house of nine. Most of the bedrooms were lovely but there was one that was horrible and for a while it put us off taking the house.

The room was gloomy, poky, insanely messy and had a stale smell lingering in the air. Everyone was scared that they’d end up with that room and guess who got it – yours truly.

My heart sank as the realisation that this would be the room I slept in, worked in, and relaxed in, sunk in. Once moving day came, however, and I moved in all my things: my lamps and rugs and books and plants, the room was transformed. I have come to love my cozy, little room and I will be sad to leave it.

My point? I really do think it’s possible to make any room and house more homely. All it needs is a little TLC.

Part of the fun of being in your 20’s is having the freedom to move around lots

And finally, take a deep breath:

Finally, whilst you’re in the all-consuming house hunting bubble, take a moment to stop and take a deep breath.

In those moments that you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the stress of the process, remind yourself that you will find somewhere.

It’s easy to get melodramatic – you can drive yourself crazy convincing yourself that you actually won’t find somewhere (you will) that you’re going to end up homeless and alone (you won’t) or that you’ll have to stay in halls (probably not and it’s not the end of the world anyway).

Comfort yourself with the knowledge that at the end of the day the house you pick will probably only be yours for a year and give yourself some credit! You’ve already made the daunting transition from home to university, you’ve already had to make a completely new group of friends and you’ve come out the other side.

So just relax, it will be alright. You can do this.