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How to Find the Perfect Postgraduate Home (and Housemates)

Former postgrad Matt Ayes shares his tips on finding accommodation and housemates you'll actually get on with.

"In undergraduate freshers’ week, most students are sporadically placed among their peers in halls of residence. They find their housemates for their second and third year through their subject courses, societies or by sheer coincidence.

"As a postgrad, halls are rarely an option. This means postgraduate students not only have to find a place to live, but also a bunch of not-horrible people to share it with, all before the course they're enrolled on even begins.

"This is an understandably common source of stress for anyone thinking about taking a postgraduate course, and if you’ve already been accepted with nowhere to live, you’re not alone. But don’t fear – there are several avenues you can pursue in order to find the perfect home and housemates."

Attend a house-hunting event

Row of student houses
Image via flickr.com

Many universities recognise the problem that postgraduate students have when trying to find a place to live, and actively organise house-hunting events to help like-minded postgrads meet one another before they begin their studies.

"I personally attended a two-day house-hunting event before embarking on my postgraduate diploma in journalism at Cardiff University. While I already knew the city from living there during my BA, many others didn’t and found the city guides organised by Cardiff Student Letting really useful.
"Semi-awkward but super necessary social activities such as speed dating and a quiz quickly broke the ice. Before I knew it I’d found a friendly mix of people to show around town and, subsequently, we found an affordable home to rent together."

Get online

This digital age of ours is incredibly useful for linking up with potential housemates. A good first step is to email the school you’ll be a part of and ask their admin staff to circulate your message among other prospective postgrads, many of whom will be in the same situation as you.

A quick tweet with a polite “Pls RT” worked wonders for Rachel, who studied marketing at UWE Bristol. “Social media is a good way to link up with other house-hunters in your area,” she said.
Don't forget to hit up forums such as The Student Room and Go Study UK, which is frequently bustling with other postgrads in your city looking for somewhere to live.

Go solo

Nice student house
Image via tumblr.com

For some postgraduate students, the thought of living alone in an unexplored city is too terrifying to contemplate. However, if you’ve got an independent spirit and don’t mind the prospect of finding a small but perfectly formed apartment to call your own, it’s an option worth thinking about.

“The advantages are that you don’t have to compromise as much on cost or location, plus you’re able to keep your place as neat or as messy as you’re comfortable with,” says Kieran, who lived in a studio apartment during a postgrad in mathematics and statistics at Lancaster.
Privately-owned student accommodation is another option. These are filled with postgrads and undergrads alike, so you might not be as lonely as you think while living on your own.

 

See before you sign!

Dilapidated house
You don't want to end up with this. (Image via deviantart.com)

While it can be tempting to remotely sign for a year’s lease on a house that looks immaculate online, it is incredibly important to have a good look around the digs in real life before you commit to anything. Make a checklist of questions to ask as well if you're concerned about anything specific. Don’t listen to the idle threats of pushy estate agents and landlords – It’s you who’s going to be stuck living in a dilapidated house if turns out to be different to how it looked in the photos. 




Related reading: Should You Stay at the Same University For Your Postgraduate Degree?


 

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