House hunting season is upon us once again, so it's time to accept that you can't live in halls forever despite how appealing that is. Leeds is brimming with student housing so don't panic and sign for the first house you see with enough bedrooms and a door that locks. Trust us, with a surplus of 5000 extra beds in the city, you won't end up homeless.
1 Despite what the estate agent says there are probably not 100 other people interested in the house.
It's the estate agents' job to get a house rented as soon as possible, so they will tell you that another group are on their way to sign for it right now. Don't be fooled by sale speak - even if you do miss on a house there will always be another which is just as nice.
2 Look past the mess
Exams finish at the same time house hunting starts so don't be surprised if there's a layer of beer cans on the floor of the house you view. We all know that the days following exam season are meant to be spent avoiding the massive pile of dishes you've let build up over the past few weeks. So don't rule a house out just because it's a bit messy. Imagine how you and your housemates will keep the place, rather than imagining yourself moving in straight away.
Don't be afraid to ask questions.
There are few things more awkward than traipsing into a stranger's house whilst they're hungover in bed. Don't let the awkwardness get the better of you. It's a hundred times better for both of you if someone bites the bullet and asks a question. The people living in the house before you are a lot more qualified to tell you the pro's and con's than the estate agent who has probably never stepped in the house until that day. So, use your viewing to ask about the real state of the house, you never know what sort of mould a poster is covering up.
Look everywhere and at everything.
Just because everyone outside of Leeds assumes students live in Hyde Park, doesn't mean you have to live in Hyde Park. Places like Meanwood and Burley offer alternatives which are just as cheap, nice and accessible. Burley Park has a train station which goes straight into Leeds. It is only a smidgen past Hyde Park, meaning that for the sake of a five-minute walk you could be saving a tenner a week on rent. Also, if there's only four of you why not consider a flat? There are blocks of modern flats all over Leeds which are home to countless students. If you want to live your "halls days" forever then a flat could be exactly the right place for you and the gang.
View houses with different estate agents.
Just because your friends have signed for a house with one company, doesn't mean you have to. There are so many estate agents in Leeds and competition never hurt anyone. Why not discuss deals and offers with one company and then see what another has to offer. At the end of the day, every estate agent just wants to get all of their properties let. So why not try to get the best deal you can - whether this is a rent-free summer or a reduced deposit. There's absolutely no harm in trying so don't waste an opportunity just because you're afraid to ask.