It occured to me that this is my last year as a student, and so my last year to really talk about University advice from a student perspective. I used to give quite a bit of advice when I first started, because I was working through it all and it was helpful to me. However, as my blog and other interests have taken off, my University advice posts have slipped to the side… Now that I’m in my third year, I want to get back to advice posts, and lay some things out simply (Or at least, as simply as I can). So, I thought I’d start with one that’s fairly topical this time of year – housing.
Student housing is always a fast paced and stressful process. You have to find the friends, view the houses, hope nobody wants it before you, find the money for the deposit, rush into signing contracts you know you haven’t properly read, and commit to a property for at least a year. Though that bit is (In my opinion) the most overwhelming, the tasks don’t stop there. There’s so much to look into once you’ve got your house, so I thought I’d get into it below.
You need to think about bills…
Obviously, this isn’t a priority until a month/few weeks before you move in. However, it’s worth having in mind. Typically, there will be three types of bills you’ll have to pay: energy, water and WiFi. Water bills are usually sent/organised by your local authority, so I won’t really get into that one, but let’s talk about energy and WiFi.
The first think you’ll need to do is find out whether your house uses gas or electricity. It should be one of the many housing documents you get emailed/given, but if not you can always email your agent and ask. There are many different suppliers and it can be easy to get bogged down, but if you google and check out all the energy comparison sites around,you can try and find the best and cheapest one for you.
I don’t know about you, but dodgy WiFi drives me up the walls. With all the online reading and blogging and Netflix I watch, I need a good signal. However, I don’t really want to pay a fortune either. Like the energy, there are a bunch of sites that will help you compare a bunch of different providers and find out what works for you and your flat. This one even comes with resources to find out what you actually want from your WiFi. For example, they have an article comparing Virgin and BT (I learnt that Virgin was the right choice for me and “can’t be beaten when it comes to speed”). Basically, if you are clueless like me, it’s a good place to simply read up on what WiFi matches your needs.
Obviously, if you’re in a house with multiple people, you’re going to have to figure out how to split bills. To make things easy (and to stop you constantly pestering your flatmates for money), I recommend a money tracking app like Acasa. You can each register, and then it presents you with a house dashboard, showing who owes who what. You can set up direct debits on it too, so it tracks when the money’s coming out and sends people reminders of when to pay it. We also use it in my house for things like toilet paper, washing up liquid etc… The things that add up, but you might feel petty for asking for in person.
You need to think about moving in…
I feel like with the whole moving process, sharing is caring (and also so much cheaper).
The moving day
A lot of places have a specific day you can move in and collect your keys on. Also, some of these places are difficult and want you to collect all the keys at once. If you can get your moving date in advance, I would recommend you do, so that you can all arrange to be there/make arrangements if one of you isn’t. I personally think it’s best to be there on moving day so you can get good cupboard spaces and report anything on the inventory ASAP – you don’t want to get stuck with charges when you move out.
Storing your stuff
Every year that I’ve moved student housing, I’ve been lucky enough to have overlapping move in/move out dates. So, I’ve been able to store the bulk of my things in my old house, and then come back to move it directly into my new house. However, that’s not always the case. If you don’t want to take it all home with you, consider sharing a storage space with your other housemates if they have the same issue. However, if they happen to have overlapping dates, see if they’ll let you briefly move your stuff into their old property.
Transporting your stuff
Whether you’ve gone with using a storage unit or moving things over straight from your former residency, you still have to get your stuff to your new house. Again, the best way to do this is to share with eachother. Moving vans can be quite pricy, but moving vans split between a few people? Far more manageable. Shove all your stuff into one van… Maybe even try to see if one of you/your parents can drive up and transport excess in their car. Suddenly, the process isn’t as daunting.
You need to think about rooming…
I’ve never actually had an issue with rooming. In my second year house, everybody decided pretty simply and we didn’t have any disputes. In my third year house, all the rooms were the same size, so we weren’t that bothered. However, if you haven’t decided your rooms, here’s some things to consider:
- Did anyone have a particularly terrible room the year before? Be a nice person, let them have first pick.
- Is somebody willing to pay more/less if the rooms are considerably different sizes? It might be worth weighting the rent (Some places may already come with it weighted).
- Does anyone have any particular requirements? e.g. would benefit from a room downstairs/on a lower floor (If you have those).
- Is somebody going to be there considerably less than others? Discuss how it might be fair for them to choose last.
- If none of the above helps, the fairest way is just to randomly assign them. Number off the rooms and use a random number generator for each person.
Also, if you get stuck with a room you don’t want, remember that student housing is only temporary. Also, everything looks cuter with blankets and fairy lights.
Hope you enjoyed this! Let me know what you thought, and also what other student topics you would like me to cover in the comments.
Lots of love,