Viewing your student accommodation before taking the plunge and signing the contract is an absolute must, and it’s a good idea to view a variety of different places. During viewings, there are some key questions you should cover. Getting the answers to these will give you a better idea of the practical side of living in the property.
To ask the letting agent
1. What’s included in the rent?
Some student accommodation will come with bills included, such as the utilities: gas, water and electricity. Wi-fi may also be included in some cases. This kind of bills-included set-up might seem more expensive at first glance but makes it much easier to budget in the long-term, because you know exactly what you need to pay each month, with no nasty surprises.
However, this is not always the case, meaning all of your bills will need to be considered as an extra expense (which can make a dent in your budget). Always establish exactly what is covered in your rent and what isn’t.
2. Will that damage be fixed before I move in?
If you spot any form of damage in the house during a viewing, including damp, peeling paint, cracks in the walls, broken door handles etc. always point these out and check they are being dealt with before you move in. In most cases, the landlord will already be aware, and work will be planned to fix it, but it’s always best to confirm this.
3. Do you have many viewings after mine?
This will give you a timeframe to make your decision, as there’s always a chance that the people viewing after you could snap it up quickly while you’re still considering the options. If you have a feeling this is the house for you, check when the next viewing is and that will give you an idea of how quickly you need to make your choice. However, nice houses in desirable locations will be snapped up quickly, so don’t wait for too long.
To ask the current tenants
You might be able to speak to the current tenants during the viewing if they’re home. Here’s the best questions to ask if you get the chance (or if not, you can ask the letting agent if they have any insights):
- How much are the bills?
If Wi-fi and other bills aren’t included in your rent, then it’s important to gain an idea of how much they’ll be before being faced with a surprise when you move in. The current tenants will have the records of what they are paying and will be able to give you a clear figure.
- What’s the WiFi like?
The Wifi in a student home needs to be able to take a lot of strain, especially at times where your housemates may be streaming, Zooming, downloading and more all at the same time. With so much of what we do relying on an internet connection, making sure the area is covered with good quality broadband is crucial.
- Is there a bus stop/parking nearby?
Although the letting agent will be able to provide loose details of bus stops, the current tenants will know more about specific bus routes and which stops take you to the correct places (such as the University). Also, the day you visit there may be ample parking - but is that the same at 7pm when everyone is at home? Be sure to check.
- Nearby shops, pubs and takeaways to recommend?
There may be a lot of amenities and night life in the town, but there’ll certainly be days where you just want to hang around at home and not travel too far. Asking about the local takeaways, shops and pubs will give you a good idea of the best places to try and could save you some money too!
Make sure to take a list of key questions along to your next viewing to guarantee you get the full picture of your potential student home and make the best decision for you and your housemates.
To find the best student accommodation in Swansea, take a look at our amazing list of house-shares, flats and more by using our search tool. Happy house-hunting!