I’ve just done something potentially very very stupid…
So I have no idea how many of you are aware, but it’s gotten to that point in the year where people in first year have been thinking about the (mostly) inevitable move out of halls and into private accommodation, and with that comes no end of stress. “Who am I going to live with?” “Where do we want to end up?” and “Where the heck do I even begin looking for places to live?”
I will declare straight up right now that I hadn’t even thought about any of these things until 3 weeks ago, when a friend of mine basically said to me “Hey, wanna go and look at some agencies and see if we can get viewings?”
We had no plan, we had no people, just two of us on one Saturday morning, walking around looking to see if any housing places were open, we were turned away from two different agencies, because we had absolutely no clue what we were looking for or a definite group size (apparently “3-4″ doesn’t cut it with most people) but eventually we found a place willing to let us look at their properties, and so we had some viewings booked for the following Monday.
So at this point there were still only 2 of us, and we needed to find a 3rd, and fast. (I’m about 99% certain the agency didn’t realise at this point just how little we knew about our group size) Everyone I talked to said they either were sorted, or had other plans, but we eventually managed to find someone willing to put up with the two of us for the next year, so we went on some viewings.
The first two places we looked at can only really be described as “Un-liveable”. Part of that is probably just down to the fact it’s student accommodation, and we’re not exactly well known for our tidiness, but it was beyond that. The entire place stank of smoke, there were bare bulbs as light sources, doors falling off hinges. If you’d taken the time to get a microscope and examine some of the surfaces, you’d probably have found several hundred types of bacteria previously unknown to science, it was *THAT* bad. People say that student housing can get pretty horrible, but you really don’t appreciate the level of awful that places like this can get to until you actually go and see it for yourself.
Having said that though, the second set of places we visited turned out to be much better, though at first glance you might not have thought it. It was tucked behind a set of shops which really didn’t have the best shop fronts, and the path leading to it was narrow, dark and damp. Once inside though we were met with what was actually a relatively nice (if a little small) living space.
I’m gonna skip forward a bit now, so we’ve just got back to the agency after the viewings, and we’re suddenly met with a choice: Do we commit to the nicer place, or continue looking and risk losing it to another group, who at that very moment are visiting it for a second viewing?
You can probably guess what happened…
So, with no experience of the system, the 3 of us walked out of an agency, having paid an agency fee to secure a property that 1. we had no idea even existed before that day, 2. we had only visited once 3. we had thought about for maybe 10 minutes.
And that’s the story of my impulse house, I’ll let you all know how it goes…
(Disclaimer: “Do NOT try this at home – or, I suppose, university…”)
P.S. If you’re reading this as one of the people we beat to the house, I can only apologise, and I do genuinely feel bad for having made an impulse move to get to it before you could, but given our experience with that particular agency I find it hard to believe they wouldn’t have warned you that it was a possibility you’d lose it if you left it, so sorry/not sorry I guess?