Moving out of student’s halls and into your very first flat is very exciting, but it is also unknown territory.  We have compiled some tips to help you make your big move a success.

Choosing the right flat or house
When moving into your very own flat, it is easy to get excited and overwhelmed.  It is important not to jump into buying the first flat you see, but there are a number of things you should take into consideration.

Perhaps the most important thing is to always visit the property before signing.  It is easy to feel under pressure but never sign without viewing the property, as photographs can be misleading.  Starting your search early will ensure that you don’t feel under pressure and that there is a good range of properties available for you to choose from.  Letting agencies can’t charge you to show you around properties so make sure you are comparing a good range.

Always consider the location of your new property as travel costs can make a big difference to your budget.  Will you really think the hour long commute is worth it when you are trying to make your first 9 am? Try to speak to the current tenants who will give you a realistic idea of travel times and can tell you more about the property in general.  Rightmove offers tips for viewing properties, with questions to ask and things to consider.

Be aware of what you are signing
Once you’ve found your dream flat, make sure you are aware of exactly what you are signing.  A lot of student properties could ask tenants to sign a joint tenancy, which means that all tenants have a responsibility to pay the rent.  Therefore, if one tenant fails to pay for any reason, the other tenants have to pay their share.  A joint tenancy can also make it more complicated if one person wants to leave before the tenancy ends.  The landlord can insist on them continuing to pay the rent for the full length of the tenancy.

Sort out bills
Before you move in it is essential that you think about paying for your electricity, gas, water and WiFi.  Your landlord might include your bills in your rent, but where possible it is often more cost effective for you to opt out of this and sort out the bills yourselves.  Landlords can often add £10 a week to your rent for bills, which seems like the easy option but you will most likely pay less if you deal with the companies directly.  This is a simple way for students to save money.

It is a good idea to set up a new account for all of your housemates to deposit the money into to pay for the bills.  You could also use this account for buying household essentials, such a cleaning products, if each member deposits a small amount in at the start of the year.

Make sure to take metre readings on the day you move in and remember you will need to acquire a TV licence if you watch any live television.

Moving your belongings
You might be considering hiring a removal van to transfer all your belongings from your student halls to your new property, but be aware it is also possible to hire a taxi.  Make sure you make it clear on the phone that you are moving a lot of belongings so they can factor in extra time for the job.  If you have everything packed and ready to go by the door, you will ensure the move is quick and easy, and you aren’t wasting the driver’s time.

When you first arrive
When you arrive at the property for the first time to pick up the keys and move in, you will most likely be asked to go through the itinerary.  It is important that you take your time with this, making sure everything matches and is up to date.

If you aren’t thorough, you could be caught out when you are moving out.  If any changes are made to the itinerary, ask to be sent an updated copy as soon as possible and keep hold of it.

It is essential to take photographs of the property before you move any belongings in.  Photograph the general condition of the property as well as any specific marks or damages and alert your landlord to these via email.  Also, take the time to check there is a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector in the property.

Contact with your landlord
It is essential that you have your landlords email and phone number at hand throughout the whole year.  Email them with any issues when you first move in and continue to do so throughout the year, ensuring you have written proof of your correspondence.  It might be a good idea to nominate one tenant to communicate with your landlord to avoid any confusion.  It is essential that you establish a good relationship with the landlord who’s property you will be living in for at least a year.

Your student property will be insured under a general policy. However, you might want to consider temporary home insurance when you vacate the property during the holidays.  You can buy insurance to cover your property during university holidays, as a standard home policy will not cover your house for damages if unoccupied for over 30 days.  This is a perfect solution for students with long summer holidays to give peace of mind.

Final things to remember
We hope these tips have been useful to help you prepare for your big move.  Always remember it is your responsibility to pay your bills on time and to respect your new neighbours.