Can students find an affordable flat that is suitable for their needs without paying a fortune or ending up sharing a room with half of Barcelona? 11Onze will try to give you some tips and tricks on the difficulties of becoming independent and entering adulthood.
The stress of university entrance exams is over, and after a well-deserved break, students enter a new stage: university begins, a phase of life in which they will learn about the sector in which they want to specialise and where existential doubts, far from fading, are often multiplied.
At this age and after so many years of effort, we often want to take advantage of this feeling of freedom and live new experiences, meet different friendships and, ultimately, fully enter adulthood, becoming independent of our parents: the search of the ideal flat begins. The latter, however, can be much more difficult than it seems.
The budget: a scarce commodity
To start with our research, the first thing we need to be clear about is the budget: we need to define what is the maximum amount of money we can afford to spend each month. This is of paramount importance, given that many students at these ages either do not have a regular income, or they have one but it is very meagre.
Unfortunately, however, the rent will not be the only aspect to consider. We must also keep in mind the distance between the flat and the university: the flat with the cheapest rent in Catalonia will be of no use to us if we have to waste four hours a day to go to class! Surely the key is to find a middle ground between being close enough to the university but not in the city centre, with enough transportation available, such as subway or train stations.
The more, the merrier?
Aside from distance, there is another factor that can increase or decrease our monthly spending: the number of roommates. Obviously, the more roommates we have, the less money per person we will pay, but we will have to take into account how many people in the same house we can afford, as too many people sharing a few square meters can become burdensome and decrease our quality of life. And in the same way, being on our own in a huge flat can make us feel alone.
Time is gold: start the search as soon as possible
Once we have decided the budget we can spend on rent, it’s time to start the search! Of course, we can take into account a few tips to make this search much more efficient.
First, the calendar must always be kept in mind: much of the demand for rental flats for university students is, of course, concentrated before the start of university. It is therefore very important to start the search before this period: this way you will have a lot more offer and you will be able to choose what is best for you. If, on the other hand, we start looking for a flat in October, we will most likely be left with flats that no one has wanted, either because of an excessive price or bad characteristics.
Agency or contacts: what is more efficient?
Acquaintances are a great way to start looking, instead of real estate agencies or websites. You’d be surprised how many people prefer to rent to acquaintances and decide not to post their ad on the internet. This way, aside from avoiding the entire search process, we might get a better room for the same price, thanks to the trust they have in us.
Related to this, universities often have a housing stock market where many homeowners publish their offers. Thus, many students can benefit if they find an offer that suits their needs, using the campus or university website.
If you do not find anything with any of these methods, it is time to use the most traditional search tools: real estate agencies or websites, many of which have their own app. Here we have many options, but some of the best known are:
Once we have chosen a flat, we must sign the agreement and pay the stipulated deposit. Remember to read the contract carefully in order to check that there are no errata or abusive conditions. Also, check the state of the flat and verify that it is in the same condition as detailed in the contract (for example, if the agreement says the walls are well painted, check that it is so). It would not hurt to take some pictures of the general condition of the place on the first day.
It is therefore necessary to think it through and not throw caution to the wind at the first opportunity: we have all heard or been involved in true horror stories between roommates, or student flats that look like more a landfill than a home in proper condition. It is therefore in our hands to avoid ending up being the protagonists of one of these stories.
Good luck with the search!