Whether you are moving out of halls next year or a first-year opting to live in a student house share in Leeds, then viewing houses is an exciting time in any student’s life.
Moving into a student house offers you a whole new level of independence, and it can be easy to get over-excited and jump at the first property you view — after all, you’ll be living with your mates, so what does it matter what the house is like?
Well, not every house suits every student, and so it is very much worth your time to view several houses and have some questions lined up for the letting agent or landlord in order to work out if a house is right for you or not.
So, what questions should you ask when viewing a student house, whether in-person or virtually?
We’ll help you out with some ideas in this blog post.
1. Have I chosen the right housemates?
Before even planning to view a property, an important question to ask yourself is ‘have I chosen the right people to move in with?’
Sure, you all have fun on nights out together, but is Will going to pull his weight when it comes to the cleaning rota, and is Sasha an ideal housemate if she tends to get drunk and lose her house keys frequently?
It can be difficult to think about your friends from this perspective but it’s crucial that you do so to avoid unnecessary friction or problems further down the line.
Some friends are great fun to hang out with, but not so fun to live with — so choose wisely.
If you are currently choosing your housemates, then take a look at our blog post entitled, ‘Questions to ask a potential housemate’.
2. What do the current tenants think?
Depending on when you view a property, it may be occupied and, if the current tenants are in, it’s an opportunity to get their perspective on things.
Ask them how they’ve found living in the property and the area, and if they’ve had any issues you should know about.
For example, they might have realised after moving in that the walk to university is a bit longer than they’d expected or they might rave about the local area with its cool bars and quirky shops.
Talking of the local area…
3. What’s the location like?
Students have differing requirements for location, with some wanting to live in the centre of the hustle and bustle and be ready to party at the drop of a hat, and others preferring to live in a quieter spot.
Talk to your housemates about what is important to each of you and then decide on potential locations based on that.
4. How far is the property from university?
This question continues from the last one.
The Leeds universities have various campuses, so ensure you know where you will be based for your course and check how far any potential rental properties are from there.
Your housemates may be on different courses and therefore based at different campuses, so you’ll need to take that into consideration when choosing a location, too.
Distance is important as you’ll want to know how long it will take you all to get to your lectures and seminars, and you’ll also want to know how much transport will cost if you need to jump on a bus to get there.
Sometimes you can only really get a feel for distance from a property viewing, so remember to consider it during yours. If you have a virtual viewing, you might like to check out the location in person before or afterwards.
5. What’s included in the rent?
Either before or during a viewing, it’s helpful to ask a letting agent or landlord what is and isn’t included in your rent.
Here at Pickard Properties, we offer bills-exclusive or three bills-inclusive packages to students living in house shares of three or more bedrooms.
The bills-inclusive options all include unlimited use of gas, electricity and water, so you’ll have no nasty surprises at the end of your tenancy with us.
Another thing to consider is what is included within the house. For example, make sure to ask whether a property is fully furnished or not.
All of our student properties are fully furnished, to make your life as easy as possible.
6. Is there outdoor space at the property?
In autumn and winter, you’ll want your student house share to be cosy and warm, but in late spring and summer, it’s great to head outdoors and socialise in the fresh air.
If you like the thought of summer BBQs and parties, then make sure to enquire about outdoor space or gardens that come with the property you’re viewing.
Do bear in mind, though, that if there isn’t any outdoor space, you may not live far from a park — Hyde Park in Leeds, for example.
7. Is there parking at the property?
This question may not apply to you but, if you or one of your housemates drives, then you’d do well to enquire about parking.
In Leeds, there’s a lot of on-street parking in student areas, so parking is rarely a problem, but it is certainly worth asking about where you can park to make sure.
8. Do I need to arrange contents insurance?
This may seem like a boring topic but contents insurance is vital, so make sure you ask about it.
If you rent a student property from us, your contents insurance is included in our bills-inclusive packages as part of your tenancy agreement. If you opt for bills-exclusive, then you’ll need to arrange your own.
Before purchasing your own, it is worth checking with your parents if your valuables can be covered by their insurance during your time in your student house — some suppliers will allow this and others won’t.
9. Are there smoke detectors and do they work?
This is an important question for your health and safety; every student property should have working smoke detectors.
Every Pickard Properties student home has working smoke detectors/fire alarms to protect you when you’re home and a burglar alarm to protect your home when you’re in lectures or out having fun.
We hope these questions to ask at a student house viewing (and before) have been helpful.
If you have any questions regarding renting a student house from Pickard Properties, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team today.