How to House Hunt…

Now is the time of year when students across the country are scrabbling to secure their housing for next year. Some of them may be first years on the lookout for their first ever house, and some of them are second or third years who for whatever reason aren’t staying in their current accommodation.

Luckily for me, I’m staying right where I am. I lucked out both in terms of housing and housemates so aside from one change in the team line up, due to one of my housemates graduating this summer, we’re staying as we are.

However, one of my housemates and I were discussing just how unusual this is, to be happy with both your choice of housemates and your choice of accommodation one year on from that original contract signing.

I don’t pretend to have any particular wisdom on the subject, good fortune more than anything led to a situation where by the November of my first term at uni I had found who I was going to live with in second year (One of my housemates is the first person I met at the ice breaker on my first night at uni).

But I think there are a few pointers that I can give to help ease the house hunting horror.

  • Firstly, and this will seem like a very obvious one, work out what you can afford. You need to include not only the monthly rent but also the cost of bills if they are not included, the cost of transport if you are going to be travelling in every day, plus the basic costs of living such as food.
  • Decide how far you are happy to live from uni. I live right in the centre of the city and I love it. I’m very near the shops and clubs, and only a five minute walk from the main bus stop so I don’t have to worry about whether the next bus is a 25 or 26 (this is a problem all UEA students above second year will understand). Personally I think it’s best to either live very close to uni or to move right into town. A lot of student housing falls somewhere in between, leaving you too far away to walk to uni and too far away from town to walk home after a night out. Bite the bullet and pick a side.
  • When on the phone and looking around properties, remember to put your best foot forward. Nice houses go very quickly and the landlord will have plenty of offers to choose from, so make sure you’re the nice bunch who say things like, ‘we’re not much of a party house’, even if it’s not true…
  • Once you’ve found a place, don’t sign anything until a Student Union advisor has gone through the contract with you. This will protect you and the landlord from surprise costs or unreasonable demands. These things are legally binding, so make sure you fully understand what you’re getting in to.
  • And lastly, before looking around houses, have a discussion with your future flatmates about your expectations for the next year. Is one of you planning on bringing people round every weekend? Does one of you have a secret passion for the violin they’ve not mentioned before? These aren’t reasons not to live with someone, but they are things you should know about beforehand. It’s also worth checking whether any of you are very keen on having things like a bath or double beds which not all properties have.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is to be thorough enough with your planning and house hunting that there no nasty surprises once you move in – or at least none that you can be held responsible for.

Best of luck to everyone looking, and don’t forget that there’s loads more info on the HomeRun website!


Last year’s booklet – How time flies…

A Flying Visit to Norwich

I can barely believe it but it would appear that summer is beginning to draw to a close. This of course means that the new academic year is gearing up to kick off in September, bringing with it all the usual anxieties and excitements, but the biggest change this term (for second years like me) will be moving into our new homes.


Considering we found the place over eight months ago it’s a relief to finally be moving in. I won’t be living there full time until September, but this past week I popped up to visit one of my new housemates and show my sister around the fine city of Norwich.

Having been home for the past few weeks, in my own small cathedral city, I’m even more aware of how great a place Norwich is (Not to dis’ Salisbury, but it lacks the cute independent shops and cafes of Norwich). I dragged my sister around some of the places I frequented during first year, but also discovered the Cathedral quarter, an area I hadn’t really explored before. It’s nice to know that there’s still so much more to see and do, especially as I now live within walking distance of the centre of town.

The discovery of another secondhand book stall is always a cause for excitement

The discovery of another secondhand book stall is always a cause for excitement

A trip to Biddy’s Tea Room was a necessity of course, and because my sister’s a keen baker we also stopped by Norwich’s macaroon shop (which, whilst a bit spenny, is amazing).



Our new discoveries include a row of bric-a-brac and antiques shops in the previously unexplored area of town beyond the cathedral. A lot of the stuff was clutter but there were also some bargains for students looking to kit out a new house… including a globe drinks cabinet (according to my mother it’s very 70’s, but we like it).


Drink responsibly kids

Before visiting this week I was a little worried that perhaps I had done most of the things that were worth doing in Norwich, but I’m pleased to see that I’ve barely scratched the surface.

(The blog has been a little quiet over the summer, but with the arrival of September and the new academic year things will pick up again. I promise)