House Hunting Top Tips: First Steps

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Housemate homework

 

Signing a contract is a big commitment and so you want to make sure that you are embarking upon it with the right people. A year is a long time to live with other people so really think carefully about who you want to live with. Consider the size of the household, do you want a quiet, small group of housemates or a busy and lively environment with lots of housemates?

 

Explore the areas of Lancaster

 

· Would you prefer a vibrant, central location?

 

· Would you prefer accommodation in a quieter area?

 

· Do the areas that you are looking at have everything you need? Takeaways, supermarkets, gyms, parks and recreation areas?

 

Discuss what you want from a property before viewing

 

As a group you could draw up a list of essential and desirable qualities. This makes sure that everyone in the group can contribute to what they feel matters most, and ensures that there is a criteria set before viewings.

 

Set a budget

 

Work out what you can afford individually and then set and agree a budget that works for everyone. Think about the all the extra costs you might incur, utilities, tv license, parking/transport, council tax etc.

 

Choosing a letting agent

 

This is a vital part of securing the right property for you and your group. Do your research on the agent, check out reviews and accreditations. If you’re unsure use Lancaster University Homes as they accredit letting agents who have to meet a strict criteria to advertise on their portal. The students' union has its own lettings agency, Living, which is Lancaster University Homes accredited and licensed with Lancaster City Council. Any profits made from Living go straight back to the Students’ Union so by using them you’re giving money back to student services.

 

Need a guarantor?

 

Some contracts require a guarantor; this is where someone else also holds liability for the payment of rent for the entirety of the contract. Some require up front rent payments for those who are unable to obtain UK based guarantors.

 

How much is the deposit?

 

There isn’t always a deposit to pay beforehand but if there is, you should ask how much it is and ask which deposit protection scheme it will be placed in to. All deposits must be placed into a protection scheme by law.

 

Smell a rat?

 

Not literally, but if something seems to good to be true, it more than likely is. Trust your instincts and challenge anything you think could be false.