Looking for a Property

Looking for your first property is one of the most exciting rites of passage for students, but one false step can cause you a headache for the entire year - throughout our guide we’ll explain the ins and outs of the whole journey.

Step 1

What's important to me?

In Cathays, Roath and Heath, there's a huge variety of properties available to students. Whether you want a party house with a large group, or a flat for a select few, there’s a load to choose from. When you're looking to find a place, think about what you spend a lot of your time doing. If cooking's your thing, you might want a big spacious kitchen, whereas if you're fond of a BBQ in the summer, look for a spot with a good garden or patio. If you like to spend a lot of your time in the comfort of your own bed, you’ll probably want a property with double beds in every bedroom. Make sure you think about parking spots if you or your would-be housemates have cars, as many streets in Cathays, Roath and Heath require parking permits.

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Step 2

Getting up close and personal

Lots of people choose to stick with the same or a similar group to those they lived with in halls, or maybe course mates, teammates from sports, or fellow society members – but will the fact that you get on well as friends mean that you work well as a group of housemates? We don’t mean to sound unromantic, but if any of your housemates are in a relationship, ask yourself the question – what will happen to living arrangements if they break up? Money is easily the most common cause of disputes amongst housemates, so work out how you'll pay your bills and get a handle on the budgeting nice and early.

When you’re ready to start looking for a house and you have your ideal housemates, you need to figure out when you’re available to come on viewings together. With large groups it's often difficult to get everyone together, so you may have to trust someone else to make the decision for you – or you may be the one they’re trusting with their future home. Make sure you’ve all got your priorities straight before you head out to look at houses and that you trust those going on the viewings to be good decision-makers.

Struggling to find housemates? Try looking on noticeboards in uni or on Facebook - there are plenty of groups dedicated to finding flatmates.

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Step 3

Location, Location, Location

In the heart of Cathays, the Cardiff SU is never more than 10 minute walk away. Most of the main university buildings and libraries are close too, along with a great selection of pubs. Central student streets to look for houses on are Cathays Terrace, Woodville Road and Miskin Street. Investigate the streets in between as well, as they're just as close and notably easier for parking! Before you pick a house, have a think about which departments your housemates study in. Humanities students tend to cluster around Cathays Terrace, but if you’re down in Trevithick, you might want to look around Richmond Road and Salisbury Road and save yourselves a long walk to lectures! For University of South Wales students based in Treforest, we recommend being close to Cathays Train Station so rolling on to the train in the morning is minimal effort. Miskin Street and the surrounding side-streets are perfect for this.

The properties in Roath tend to be a little quieter and closer to a village feel, especially near Albany Road. You'll also have the beautiful Roath Park nearby. Cardiff Met students find City Road and Albany Road handy for the bus ride to campus, plus it's easy walking distance to the city centre.

Living with medics? Take a look around properties near Crwys Road and Whitchurch Road for a happy medium between Cathays and the Heath Hospital, and it’s also within walking distance of town.

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Step 4

How much is too much?

When you’re a first-year student and you’ve never rented a property before, it’s often difficult to gauge what’s good value for money and what’s too expensive. Depending on property and location, prices can vary quite widely. For shared student houses (3+ beds), the prices can average around £400 per person per month, but for top-quality properties with new finishes and updated décor, you could expect to pay £575-£600... sometimes even higher for those with that bit extra, like en-suite bedrooms!

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Step 5

What’s the average cost of gas, water, electricity and internet?

The most important thing to remember with utility bills is to shop around. You don't have to stick with the supplier you're given, so do some research and find out who's going to get you the best deals. On average, you'd be wise to budget around £50 per person per month for your gas, water, electricity and internet. If you're worried about paying too much, remember to be smart about things like switching lights off to save on electricity, or not leaving appliances on standby all the time.


Step 6

Do I have to pay council tax?

If you're a full-time student, then you aren't liable to pay any council tax. Lucky you! To make sure the Council don't send you a bill, they'll need to see your Council Tax exemption certificate which is issued by the university at the start of each year. Don’t worry if you lose it – you can request another from the university registry. Bear in mind that we’ll also need a copy of your exemption form in order to process your bond return, so bring us one too!


Step 7

What about a TV licence?

Because you’re moving in as joint tenants on one tenancy agreement that covers the whole property, you’ll only need one TV licence between you all. It costs £145.50 for a colour TV… or £49 for a black and a white one!

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Step 8

Your perfect date

Most student housing lists for the following academic year come out around the end of October or the start of November, so this is the first point at which you can find your dream home. It's also ideal, as before Christmas you shouldn't be busy doing exams or too many essays – yet! If you haven't found anywhere by January, it’s time to get moving. Take a look on our website, portals like Rightmove or wander down to our Woodville Road office to pick up the lists in person. Our website is updated daily, so should always be as accurate as possible. Chat to our advisers and we’ll listen to what you require, and then suggest properties that fit your needs as closely as possible.


Step 9

Time for your personal tour

Once you've weighed up what's important to you, your location and decided on the size of house you're looking for, it's time to get viewing! Looking around a variety of properties can seem a bit of a whistle-stop tour, but if you fall in love with a house, make sure you don't just give it a quick once-over! Check the washing machine, fridge-freezer and dishwasher to see if they are in good condition. Does the property have central heating, double glazing and a decent shower? These questions are easy to forget, so write a quick checklist if you need to. Our advisors will do as much as we can to answer them for you. Whoever is showing you around will know all the relevant details about the properties, as well as the surrounding area, so don't be afraid to ask!

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