By Jack Wilkin

So, something quite strange and terrifying happened to me yesterday. At precisely 2:30pm, I reserved a house. Me. A HOUSE!

For starters, let’s break this moment down. There I am, with the four other people who I will be sharing this building with. We have seen the property – nah, prefer the word ‘house’, less adulty – we have seen the house, twice and liked the location, size etc.

We’re all standing in the newly renovated kitchen, a washing machine is gleaming the eternal light of happiness and a tumble dryer sits next to it looking smug. It’s a bit of mess since current students still live there and yes, underwear and clothes laid in a ruin on the floor of all the bedrooms, but it was nice. It felt like it had been lived in.

In the blink of an eye, we’re sitting in the lettings agency with a piece of paper in front of us, winking at me to sign it! And, to make me feel even older, I am the first point of contact. I like to think this makes me the King of the House (my house mates quickly killed that idea) but it means that I am the first port of the call, the prophet of the Guardians of the Lettings world.

By no means am I now an ‘expert’ on the world of house viewings, but I have some experience. So, if you’re a student looking for accommodation, here’s some advice for when you’re choosing your next pad.


  1. DON’T FEEL PRESSURED! Don’t feel that you have to buy the first place that you see. Take your time and do some searching. Visit some local estate agents (they nearly always have a student section), look at large corporate agencies and special agencies just for students. Look around and see what’s out there.
  2. Viewings galore. See as many different houses, flats and apartments as you can. The more you see, the more of an idea you get for what is out there. Look at different places, with different prices. Just because one place is £5 cheaper, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s nicer and it might be hiding a darker side (damp, drafts and bad water pressure is not good…and now I sound like my parents!)
  3. May seem tedious, but time how long it takes you to get from campus (or your favourite pub/bar), to your possible new home. Set up a stopwatch on your phone and just walk there. All very well it being £70ppw, but if it’s a 30 minute walk away you might spend more time getting public transport in.
  4. Check bills, prices and rent. Some places start their contracts in July…when you’re most likely to be back home. While some offer half rent during these times, others don’t so do check. See if there are any deals and try and get bills included, so you don’t have to worry about water, gas and electricity.
  5. Take your time and enjoy it. You don’t have to commit to anything and keep an open mind. Just because a place might be messy, doesn’t mean it will be messy when you move in.

So good luck as you go through the worrying, disturbing and hair pulling world of adulthood.