With accommodation viewings now taking place online, we cover all the essentials you need to think about in this student accommodation viewing checklist.
Here at true Student, we run our virtual viewings for the following accommodations: true Newcastle, true Manchester, Salford and true Birmingham every Monday at 6pm.
A guide to virtual accommodation viewing
With the majority of our student accommodation viewings now taking place online, we have come up with a guide to find your perfect student home.
It can be easy to get caught up in the accommodation-hunting rush, especially as we are all couped up at home, but our handy checklist will ensure you make the right choice for your university accommodation.
With lots to consider when finding a student home, it can sometimes feel a little overwhelming diving into the rental market for the first time.
Which uni accommodation is right for you?
Before diving into virtual accommodation viewings, you first need to decide whether you should live in private accommodation, or if you choose to have a more authentic ‘uni experience’ by sharing with flatmates. Sharing accommodation is a great way to meet new people and make friends but does have its drawbacks. Check out our full guide on which accommodation to choose.
Private student accommodation
Living alone in a private flat rather than in a shared suite is a great choice for those who want their own space. Private flats are more tranquil and calm, whereas in a shared apartment you could overhear your flatmates.
Shared student accommodation
Living with others in your university accommodation is excellent because you meet new friends straight away. Your flatmates will make up your first social group at uni and you’ll probably find yourself spending lots of time together as you begin to settle in.
Things to remember during your viewing
Before you start looking through our accommodation viewing checklist, we’ve got some important pointers to mention:
Look for the positives
Searching for your first accommodation at university is supposed to be an awesome experience.
Most of the time when you talk to adults or guides on the internet about student housing, they instantly leap to the negative side. So we’re here to shout about the pros! From our extensive experience about uni accommodation, finding a great place to share with friends, or live alone in, is great fun!
When viewing places, be sure to think about all the unique features and fun times that can be had there. Could you cook up a storm and have a dinner party? How many friends could fit on the sofa for movie night? (or even better, an in-built cinema!) Let your imagination run wild about the future good social times that could be had in your new home.
Don’t feel rushed
Even now, when all accommodation viewings are taking place online, don’t feel rushed or pressured through any of them. Be sure to take time looking things over, ask every question you can think of and get a feel for each flat you see – you might be going to live there for a year!
Perhaps get a list of all the questions you can think of before you begin the viewing and make sure you ask them! Even things that are not directly related to the actual accommodation, like; is it busy at nighttime around the location? Is there a lot of road noise when the windows are open etc?
Virtual uni accommodation viewing checklist
So, before you start booking all your virtual accommodation viewings, here are some pointers to exactly what you should be looking for during the tour;
The size of shared vs private spaces
If you are in the market for shared uni accommodation, during your virtual viewing be sure to take a note of the size of the different spaces. If there is a huge communal living space, awesome! But if that is compromised by having a smaller bedroom, and you plan on spending most of your time on your own at your desk, then perhaps you should consider living alone in a private suite, where you will get less space overall, but far more for yourself.
Be sure to ask the letting agent as many questions as you can regarding the size of the rooms in the accommodation and make a note of the dimensions. This will make it easier for you to visualise the size of the space as it can be misleading when looking at it through a screen.
Be sure to take note of the furniture to floor space ratio. Will this be a comfortable balance for you? Remember when studying your degree you are going to be spending a lot of time sitting at your desk, so make sure it is going to be a comfortable and productive space for you.
Check for heating/air conditioning
Ask the letting agent about the temperature inside the room, is it well insulated? (speaking of, are the heating bills included in the rent?) Ask the agent to show you where the radiators/air conditioner is located within the flat. If the flat has separate rooms can they be heated/cooled individually or are they all connected to the same thermostat? Can the windows open & is it easy to get fresh air into the room?
Ask the letting agent to show you how the heating works, is it a simple modern thermostat, or is it more old school on/off? This is more important than you might think as modern heating and appliances make a huge difference to the efficiency of the flat and so the energy bills (if they aren’t included).
Ask the letting agent what the overall energy rating of the flat is. You might have seen this chart in the past but it shows the efficiency of the appliances and heating in the flat which has a direct impact on bills.
What appliances does the flat have?
Make sure you take a close look at the appliances in the accommodation. Are they of a reasonable brand and quality? Are they modern, or well-used? All our premium student accommodation comes with well-maintained, high-quality appliances included, but many don’t. So be sure to ask the agent to talk you through the oven, microwave, washing machine, dishwasher, shower etc. and if you are skeptical about their condition make sure you ask for them to demonstrate them working whilst on the viewing.
Have a good look around the flat and make a note of any appliances that it does not have, that you will need to buy before moving in. A kettle, toaster etc. and factor this into the cost of moving to uni and the rent of the accommodation.
If the flat has a TV included, make sure that it looks in good condition, is there a tv antenna cable connected and is it modern enough to have HDMI ports for gaming consoles / smart TV sticks so you can watch all of your favourite streaming services.
Is WIFI included in the flat? Internet is a vital asset to have at your uni accommodation and its necessary to ensure that you will have access. Often, WIFI is included in the rent so be sure to ask about this.
Is the flat well-equipped with comfortable and clean furniture? Are the sofas and carpets clean? Does the kitchen have a big enough dining area?
Is there a double or single bed? It’s going to be hard trying to find out if this is comfortable but be sure to grill your tour guide to get as much information as possible.
Is there enough storage space for all your kitchen equipment? And is there a large enough wardrobe for all your clothes?
Most importantly, is there a comfortable and productive working environment, with a desk and chair that you can study from?
Are there any unique extras included in your accommodation? Many high-end and luxury student accommodations feature amazing benefits like an included private gym or cinema room.
Be sure to get a look at all the communal and shared areas as part of your viewing tour to get a strong feeling for the place. These areas are especially important if you plan on living alone as you will need social areas to interact with others and make friends.
Following your viewing, make sure you have all the info you are looking for. If you feel anything has been missed be sure to get in touch with the letters and ask all the questions you have left. Don’t be shy or feel pressured, you can always book another viewing at the same accommodation if you feel unsure about anything.
If you are moving to university, check out our uni packing list to be sure you have everything you need to start your new journey.