Finding your ideal university accommodation is exciting! It can also be incredibly overwhelming as there is a lot going on from first-year jitters to final-year woes. This is why we believe that the sooner you book your accommodation the better. At housemates, we understand the faff that comes with booking your accommodation. There are decisions about who to live with, a lot of viewings, deposits to make sure you get right, and everything in between. We know you need to secure your room and get everything booked stat - this is why we created this one-stop-shop, where you can literally book your accommodation at the drop of a hat.

Key reasons to book your accommodation early

Potential to grab bargain deals

The earlier you book, the higher the chance you have of grabbing a good deal on your student accommodation. For example, you may get a percentage of the final price if you book at the start of the year. The later you leave it, the chances are these deals will slip through your fingers. This means you may end up paying more than you’d have had to for your student accommodation.

A wider selection of accommodation to choose from

At Housemates, we have a range of student accommodation you can choose from, from your classic student room to a four-bed flat. For example, if you search ‘Manchester’ you can see the range of flats on offer for students of any one of its five universities. The longer you wait, the chances are the rooms will disappear, and you will be left with limited options. This means you may have to settle for a place with amenities you are not happy with.

A smoother moving-in process

If you leave choosing your accommodation until the last minute, you will find yourself scrambling to make sure you have everything you need. If you are living with other people, you may have to come together to see if you need anything for the kitchen. For example, you may need some appliances so you’ll need to work out how you are going to divvy this up between you. Are you going to pool together or get your individual bits and pieces? This takes time - time you may not have if you leave booking your accommodation for the summer. Booking in early allows you to learn more about the place you are moving to and gives you time to scope out the situation and prepare exactly what you need. It makes the moving process as seamless as possible and helps you avoid last-minute Ikea trips where aisles have already been raided!

Choose your squad

We alluded to this earlier but, the fact is, the people you surround yourself with during your time at university will have a massive impact on your overall experience. We understand that, in some cases, first years are not able to choose who they live with; however, the earlier you book, the earlier you can join the online forums for your accommodations. This way you can introduce yourself and meet other people who will live in your complex and find out a little bit about your flatmates ahead of your stay.

For second years and beyond, chances are you will want to live with the mates you made during your first year of university. This means, when looking for your accommodation, you may want a more sizeable flat to house everyone. From March onwards, larger spaces at affordable rental prices are harder and harder to come by, which is why we advise you to have this discussion with your pals as soon as you return to university after the Christmas holidays during your first year as an undergraduate student. Otherwise, there will be an increased likelihood of you having to live in separate flats.

Keeping within your budget

The prices for student accommodation vary from the lower end of the spectrum to the higher luxury end. Most students are happiest somewhere in the middle. To make sure you are able to find a room you can afford and that fits into a budget you are happy with, you need to book early.

The later you book, chances are you will have to go with a place that is either on the higher end of your preferred budget or slightly above it. Rooms also come with amenities and bills included. While on Housemates, all our accommodations come with the water, energy and internet bills included; however, any additional costs - such as TV licences, etc. - are at the discretion of the accommodation partners. The earlier you book, the chances are you will be able to find a place that has all of this included in the price, meaning you don’t have to worry too much about any additional costs you may incur. This saves you from loads of extra bills you would otherwise have the hassle of remembering to pay.

Rebook your room

If you are a current student and enjoy the accommodation you are living in now, booking in early will allow you the possibility of keeping your room. This will save you the hassle of having to look for somewhere new and give you the peace of mind that your next year of accommodation will come with no surprises - having already housed you for a year. Once it is done, it is done. You can relax safe in the knowledge you have somewhere to stay, come September. You can do this as early as January, so get yourself ahead of the game.

Peace of mind

Not knowing where you will be staying for the next academic year takes up a lot of brain space. The longer you leave it, the longer it will remain a niggle at the back of your mind. It will keep prodding and poking you until you fully give in to the moment and give it the attention it requires. If you opt to book in early, it removes the anxiety of knowing you have something to do takes up space in your brain.

First come, first serve

When you are looking for your student accommodation it is a first-come, first serve situation. We all know someone who has found their perfect accommodation and then spent a couple of days deciding if they are going to go ahead and take the room or not. The later you book, the chances are that your preferred accommodation will be snapped up, and you will have to seek an alternative. Getting in there early and booking in your accommodation at the start of the calendar year means you have the pick of the bunch of rooms available. While we don’t advocate procrastinating making your decision, booking via Housemates also comes with a 14-day cooling-off period. This means that if you book early, you’ve still got time to change your mind. You can cancel the room within 14 days of making the payment, and you will get a full refund. No harm, no foul.

Avoid deposits

The deposit is the bit that bites your budget hard at the start. You need to provide additional money (typically a month’s rent) alongside your first rent payment instalment, which can cut quite heavily into your budget. In this case, booking early can help you as some accommodation partners will waive the deposit should you choose to book early. This can save you a couple of hundred pounds at the least, giving you spare money to allow you to enjoy the university experience that little bit more. The money you save can go towards study materials, which can be pricey, nights out, your weekly shop or social activities planned by university societies.

When is the best time to book your accommodation?

We know that most students leave finding their accommodation until the last minute. In our experience, we know first-hand that this is not the way to go. You don’t want to risk losing out on the best student spots in the city because you left it too late.

Ideally, we would say to start looking for your new accommodation at the start of the year. Around January-February time. Yes, it is around exam season, but whenever you can catch a break from revising or doing your coursework, take a few minutes to look at our Student Accommodation search bar and secure your housing for the next academic year. Use it as an excuse to take your eyes off the books and focus on something else. Productive procrastination, after all, is not to be sniffed at.

If you are a first-year prospective student, you should start looking from the time you start receiving your offers from UCAS. We know it seems early, but in each city, the popular places are filled so quickly that, by the time you receive your A-Level results, the majority of places have gone. Therefore, as soon as you have decided which university feels right for you and you have your offers, start looking.

For international students, we understand finding the right student accommodation for you comes with different barriers. For instance, your place at university and your travelling to the UK will be dependent on you getting a visa. This can take a long time to come through. In most cases, it will arrive only weeks before you travel. You need to make sure you have all your ducks in a row while you are waiting for the visa confirmation - this includes looking for your accommodation. In the unfortunate instance, you are having troubles securing housing due to an issue with your visa, this is something the staff of your accommodation complex will be able to assist you with as best as possible. This gives you the best chance to secure the house or flat of your dreams.

Things to consider when booking your accommodation:

Location

Of course, you want the location to be in the city or town your university is in; however, you need to think a bit deeper than that. When looking at the correct accommodation, it is worth checking out the surrounding area. Are there any grocery shops nearby for the weekly shop? If not, how far are they? The last thing you want to do is book a place and discover the nearest supermarket is an hour away. If you are booking via Housemates, you will find a map attached to each accommodation we list. You can use this to check out the nearby area and make sure you are happy with it.

Budget

We have mentioned budget a few times but that is because it plays a huge part in determining the type of accommodation you go for. Before you begin your search, have a look at your finances. Remember to consider things like student finance. Even if it is not exact at the time of looking, you will have a rough estimate of your budget. This will help filter down the type of accommodation you will be looking for and make the process easy for you.

Amenities

Many accommodations feature amenities that could sway your choice. At Housemates, we make sure all the water, energy and internet bills are included in the price of rent. We also highlight any additional costs you may not have thought about.

Amenities also mean if the accommodation encompasses things like a courtyard or gym. Some student accommodation also features things like a cinema and gaming room. If this is something that perks your ears up, make sure you find out what other on-site facilities your desired property has. By booking early, you can ensure that you find your accommodation has all the amenities and facilities you are looking for. At Housemates, you will find information like this listed under each property so you don’t have to look too far when deciding which accommodation to look at!

Insurance

Things happen. Your belongings may get misplaced. A laptop can get damaged through no fault of your own. In these instances, it is good to make sure you have contents insurance in place. Some student accommodations include this in the price of rent but many will not. If you book early, it increases the chances of you being able to find a property that has this included so you do not have to worry about having to get contents insurance for your belongings separately. Find out more about contents insurance and why it is important here.

Secure your dream accommodation today

At Housemates, we are shaking up the way students get their accommodation. We loathe paperwork, and we know you do too. At Housemates, you don’t have to worry about how much your bills will be on top of your rent or the extra paperwork most estate agents have you fill out.

We have an easy three-step process, meaning you can have your ideal accommodation in minutes.

  • Search tool: Use our search tool to find your perfect student room. You can filter your options based on your city or university to find the ones in your area.

  • Checkout: Once you have found the ideal student room for you, book it securely online. When you book, make sure you have all the information you need. This includes your guarantor information, confirmation you are able to reside in the UK, and the details of your university or prospective university. The accommodation provider may require you to provide them with proof you are a student before moving in. This will most likely be requested closer to your arrival date. You can find out more about finding a guarantor here.

  • Move in: The final step is the fun bit. You move in! You can start putting your own personal touches on the room. All our providers offer rooms with water, energy and internet prices included in the rent. In some cases, properties will also include content insurance. Any additional costs will be made clear before any payments are made.

If you would like to find out more or have any further questions about the process, you can visit our help centre. Alternatively, you can contact a member of the team using our online chatbot.

At Housemates, we take pride in putting our students first. The reason we created this space is to make sure you have a more convenient and accessible way to find your next student accommodation. Not only this, we make sure we are honest and transparent with all our customers. We have rooms to suit every budget. Our wide property pool spans the whole of the UK and Ireland. We know looking for your student accommodation has been a drag in the past but kick start the academic year the right way. Book your university accommodation today!

Did this answer your question?