Image: Tobi Olasupo
[Annie Cracknell | Contributing Writer]
So it’s already time to start thinking about a house for next year. Can you believe, your first semester hasn’t even finished yet and already you’re having to think about where you are going to live next year? As I realised last year, it’s better to get things sorted and out of the way. If you leave it too long; it starts getting harder to find somewhere for you and your friends. Not to worry, I have devised a guide for you to follow on how to get your housing sorted first time around.
This is the most important step. Before you even think about looking at houses, you have to work out who you are going to live with. Think about this carefully. You need to get on with these people for the whole of next year. This step was relatively easy for me as I lived in halls with my current housemates so we decided to go for it, as we already knew each other quite well from halls. You may have the same situation or you may already have a group of friends on your course. Either way, make sure you are all on the same page and that you have a budget for your house sorted. You want to make your budget clear as you don’t want people dropping out further down the line because they can’t afford the place you are looking at. Also, don’t stress if you cannot find anyone to live with at first, there are always people who will be looking. You just have to do your research and ask around. There are accommodation options that are similar to halls for second and third years also.
So, now you know who you are living with. It’s time to decide where you are going to live in Hatfield (or even the surrounding areas if you are feeling adventurous). Personally, I decided to live near the campus I was studying at. This was de Havilland, so I thought I had better look at places in nearby Salisbury Village, which has a great reputation as a student village. However, if all your classes are over on College Lane, there are still some great places on Bishops Rise and surrounding the Asda superstore. If most of your classes are on one campus but the majority of your housemates are on the other, then I’m afraid the majority wins, you may have to do a bit more travelling to get to class but that’s what comes with the territory.
By now you should be aware of where you want to live. It’s time for the most exciting bit of the whole process – choosing your house! Based on your location, property will vary in price. For example, property in Salisbury Village will be a bit more expensive than say property on Bishops Rise, just because it is slightly more popular. Depending on your property, you may have to go through a letting agency. This is normal and very common for student accommodation. There are mixed reviews about letting agencies as you will have to pay administration fees and obviously put a deposit down to secure your house, but that’s unfortunately just how it works. Landlords don’t usually like to get involved in student lettings because they have most likely faced problems like people not paying rent on time. If you can find a landlord, then that is great and I would thoroughly recommend going with one as it cuts out the middle man, but make sure he/she is trusted and that you have common ground when discussing your property.
You have to make sure that every one of your housemates is comfortable with every step you take in the process. There are a lot of letting agencies and estate agents in Hatfield, to name a few: Moving Places, Strats Estate and Letting Agents, Pikes Estate Agents and Kings Estate Agents. You can view property online on their websites but I would suggest going into the actual estate agent that you choose and speaking to an agent. It’s much quicker this way and everyone can be told the same thing at once.
This is the final step. You should have some properties in mind that you and your housemates are keen on now. Now it’s about deciding which is ‘the one’. Please don’t ever make a decision on a place before going to see it in person with your agent. I recommend all people from your party going to view the house, it’s for all of you to see and make a decision on, not just a couple. You really need to see if you can live there with these people and you need to be comfortable with the overall condition of your house. It helps if there are students already in the property you are viewing, they’ll be able to tell you the good and bad of what they have experienced with your house. Before you sign any contracts, make sure everyone is in agreement that they want the same house and are happy with the money they are spending. It’s an expensive process but the best advice I can give you is that you work together as a team.
Here is a list of contact details for the estate agents I have mentioned:
Tel: 01707 266176
Strats Estate and Letting Agents
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: +44 (0) 1707 262 737
Pikes Estate Agents:
Tel: 01707 260707
Kings Estate Agents: