Siobhan from the Advice and Money Team, shares the 5 tips to house hunting that all students should know…
You’re still getting to know your halls flat mates, and there’s a whole host of people you’ve yet to even meet. The iron your mum packed you off with is still in its box, you still haven’t quite figured out how the oven works and you’re yet to discover which one of your flat mates is the serial milk thief, but the letting agents of Cardiff are already gearing up to take your summer retainers for houses for next year. It’s easy to buy into the idea that you need to act immediately to get a house, especially with all the panic-inducing advertisements and myths flying about that you should sign before Christmas.
You do not need to sign anything yet, and before you even consider it, make sure you’re armed with the facts!
Here’s where the Advice & Money Team can help you. There are 5 steps you should take when it comes to housing …
Step 1. Before you commit to anything you will have to ask yourself what you want and need in terms of:
- The location of the property
- The people you want to live with
- What furniture and equipment is provided
- How much is it going to cost you and can you afford it?
Step 2. You’ve decided what you want, now the hard work starts – do you know what you should be looking for?
- Damp/mould – can you see it? Can you smell it?
- Is the house secure – locks on doors and windows?
- Does it have a gas and electricity certificate?
- Is there a shower, washing machine, cooker, fridge freezer – do they work? Just because it’s there doesn’t mean it works. Are there enough facilities for the number of people living in the house?
Step 3. You’ve found your dream house, but what does the small print mean?
When you first start your house hunting expedition (it can take a while) you will be hearing terms that you may never have heard before, or if you have heard them you aren’t quite sure what they mean and the implications they hold. Terms like:
- Legally Binding
- Joint tenancy
- Small print
- Houses in multiple occupations (HMO)
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme
- Agency fee
- Summer retainers
You can find lots of these explained in our housing jargon busters.
Step 4. There’s an abundance of housing stock, be careful and don’t rush into anything
- You have only been here for 6 weeks –do you really know anyone well enough to think about signing a legally binding contract with them?
- Would you commit to a long-term relationship this quickly?
- All it takes is a quick squiggle on a piece of paper to sign up to a house, but it can take a lot longer to try to rectify the situation if you decide weeks later that you made the wrong decision.
- The number of student houses in Cardiff outweighs demand so there is no rush to sign up. Save yourself roughly £300 or more by not paying rent over the summer.
Step 5. Watch our ‘House Hunting’ video
Struggling financially? Contact Advice & Money
Your feedback and help please
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Siobhan, Advice & Money Team.
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