Different universities release their housing lists at different times, but for many, November is the time when you will do your first house viewing. In Reading it’s usually released on the Friday morning of the first week of the Autumn term.

With many hundreds of groups vying to secure their ideal property, it pays to be organised and know what you are doing at your house viewing. As well as making the process easier for you, this will impress your potential landlord, and show that you are the sort of tenant he/she is looking for.

So, here are a few things to do at a house viewing:

1. Know where it is, how to get there and get there on time. Landlords might be showing lots of people around and you don’t want to miss your slot.

2. If possible, print out the details of the property from the advert and take them with you. This will help you remember each property if you are doing more than one house viewing.

3. Prepare a list of questions which will help you compare properties and write down the answers. Once you have seen your fourth or fifth property, they will all start to merge into one in your memory. (see below)

4. Take a cheque book or some cash with you. During the busy period right after the housing list is released, landlords may ask for a holding deposit to secure the property. If you have this with you, then you can secure the house immediately. Note that you should always get a receipt, and this should eventually make up part of your damage deposit, it should NEVER be an additional fee.

5. Wherever possible, take the whole group to the house viewing. If this isn’t possible (often for larger groups), send a representative round to see a list of properties and form a short list of 2 or 3. Then return with the whole group to make a final decision.

6. If the whole group are not present, ask the landlord if you can take some photo’s to show the others.

Here are some suggested questions you may want to ask when viewing a house:

  • How much is the rent?
  • How much is the deposit and when will this need to be paid?
  • Who will be responsible for paying the bills, are these included in the rent? (If not, budget for £40 for gas, electricity, water and broadband)
  • When is the house available from?
  • What furniture and appliances are included?
  • Is there parking available? (if relevant)
  • Does the house have smoke alarms fitted?
  • Is the house double glazed?
  • Who will we contact in the case of an emergency?
  • At the end of the year, will we be able to renew if we want to?
  • How do we go about applying for and securing the house?