10 Steps to Finding Accommodation as a University Student
Grades and deadlines are not the only things you have to worry about as a uni student. Usually, this is the first time you have to be out and about on your own. Hence, your living situation becomes the top priority and a new huge responsibility. There is a lot to learn about various aspects of renting a place, developing an eye for good bargains, and avoiding scams or shady deals.
It could be tricky to find a good deal being a university student and lacking experience in that area. There is a lot to consider and plan when searching for a place as a university student. Luckily, with this 10-step guide, you’ll land a nice place in no time.
Make sure time is on your side
A key to landing a good deal is having enough time to search for one. If you’re stress-browsing ads on the ten websites in August, you will settle on the first place that looks good. A bed, a table to order your essay at EssayPro and a closet? Works for me! But it is not the right fit.
At the very least, you might miss on striking a good deal by rushing to settle for the first overpriced option. And at your worst, you’ll be much more vulnerable to con artists. So, in this case, you’ll not only lose a place but money, or, what’s worse, get yourself in serious legal trouble or physical danger. Thus, plan ahead and start your search as early as possible.
Consider all your options
Think about all the ways you can get your accommodation:
- As a university student, you’re entitled to a place in the dormitory. Contact dorm administration to get all the details and file an application to get a room. It is best to do this quickly since dormitories are always in high demand.
- If the dormitory is off the table, think about what type of space and renting you’re looking for. Are you planning to share the place with a roommate or rent by yourself?
- Look for trustworthy websites for rent. It is a good idea to ask people, who are already renting. Plus, they can share some useful tips for novices.
To each their own space
Understand how much space you need. What would this place look like? Are you going to share your living space with someone else or rent on your own? Would you be okay with renting a room for yourself or would you need the whale flat? Consider where it would be the most comfortable to study and relax after classes.
Try to imagine your life there as a uni student and think about the most practical solution for yourself. In the end, you’d probably spend years in this space, so it would be easier to get a good one from the very start.
When looking through ads, filter the search according to the most convenient location. Consider the safety of the neighborhood, the grocery stores, and the pharmacies in reach. Google as much information about the area as possible. Focus on the reviews from the people, who actually live there and their experiences.
This way, you can understand if the location is right for you. Pay attention to how far it is from uni and the cost of possible transportation. Remember, a good location can save you a lot of money and make your first try at living on your own a much more pleasant experience.
Take all expenses into account
Add the cost of utility bills to wi-fi to the rent price right away. Be cautious about the condition of the utilities. You wouldn’t want to land yourself in a situation of messed up plumbing after signing a lease. See if the apartment has a washing machine. Take into account prices for laundry and the nearest one around.
It would be useful to think about how much money you would spend to furnish and decorate your space. Try to calculate the exact sum that you would spend on your first month of renting and organizing the place. Then filter your search parameters accordingly.
Contact the landlord right away
Do not wait for too long to contact the landlord to arrange a meeting if you love the place. Someone could snatch it from you in moments of hesitation. However, contact them during the appropriate hours: no earlier than 9 am and no later than 9 pm.
Before calling or messaging your potential landlord, make a list of questions about the accommodation. Ask in advance what kind of changes you`re allowed to make in the place to your liking. It might be that a place would not even be worth seeing.
Remember that time is essential in apartment hunting, so use it wisely. Schedule a meeting with the landlord to see the place only after making sure that your requirements align.
When arranging a meeting to see a place, do not forget about safety measures. All in all, you’re seeing a complete stranger. Inform at least one of your friends about a meeting with a potential landlord. It would be smart to send them your location as well. Also consider such safety measures as:
- Be suspicious of the late-night meetings. Ask your potential landlord about the afternoon hours to see the place.
- Make sure that the front door is open after entering the place.
- Don’t drink or eat anything that you have not seen being prepared in front of you.
Use your first 7 seconds wisely
It takes around seven seconds for a human brain to form a first impression. It is a short slot of time to set the tone. Hence, showing up late in your sweats and with a greasy up-do might be not the best choice for this task.
Of course, conversational skills and friendliness can get you out of any situation. But it is not wise to start your meeting on the wrong foot. For example, showing that you value a person’s time sets an impression of a responsible individual. And this is surely a trait that a potential landlord would seek in a tenant in the first place.
Keep your senses sharp for scams
Even the most trustworthy platforms are not 100% scam-free. Pay attention to suspicious photos of the place. Be wary if the price looks too low and ask as many questions about the accommodation and the contract as you can. Run a background check on the potential landlord by googling their name. Pay attention to:
- unusual spelling and very obvious grammatical mistakes in the ad;
- landlord asking to sign anything before you’ve seen a place and the contract in writing;
- fees for viewing an apartment (they should not exist);
- pressuring tone of the messages or conversation;
- artificially created feeling of missing out if you’re not agreeing to the terms right away
Trust your gut and always be on the lookout.
Don’t be afraid to bargain
If you manage to get a good impression, do not be afraid to bargain. It could be scary to do so as a young person but do not miss the chance of striking a deal. Stay reasonable but if there’s something in the place that suggests a lower price, point it out.
Keep your focus on the specific aspects of the apartment and do not try to appeal to have a low budget as a student. You can mention that you’ve started uni and you’re excited to have a place on your own in passing. Be friendly and polite, while doing so, and you might get a good bargain for years ahead.