Postgraduate Accommodation - How are you doing it? Watch

studbs
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Hey guys,

there are already plenty of threads about accommodation in general but I feel they are more addressing undergraduate students than postgraduates.

I will start my master's at Imperial College this fall and I'm currently thinking about how to deal with accommodation.
I do have a budget (around 160pw max) and now I'm wondering what's best: Living close to college or commuting every day to save money?!

Of course, if money allows, I would prefer living close to Imperial and it would be great if it is in walking (or biking) distance. Otherwise I will move outside of London ... Are there any good areas (especially for students) that are outside of London and nice to stay at? Maybe there are some students here that have already dealt with that question.
Also I'm wondering, is it worth saving some money by living outside of the city but then having to commute every day? It's probably quite frustrating to commute for an hour each morning/evening, right?!

Thanks for any answers!
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RossCross
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(Original post by studbs)
Hey guys,

there are already plenty of threads about accommodation in general but I feel they are more addressing undergraduate students than postgraduates.

I will start my master's at Imperial College this fall and I'm currently thinking about how to deal with accommodation.
I do have a budget (around 160pw max) and now I'm wondering what's best: Living close to college or commuting every day to save money?!

Of course, if money allows, I would prefer living close to Imperial and it would be great if it is in walking (or biking) distance. Otherwise I will move outside of London ... Are there any good areas (especially for students) that are outside of London and nice to stay at? Maybe there are some students here that have already dealt with that question.
Also I'm wondering, is it worth saving some money by living outside of the city but then having to commute every day? It's probably quite frustrating to commute for an hour each morning/evening, right?!

Thanks for any answers!
Hi Studbs,

There is no such thing as a best solution, it all comes down to your budget, needs and preferences. I know this is not the answer you're looking for but that's all there is to it. Do you put a premium on walking distance? Is the lowest possible living cost your priority? Would you mind a long commute? You need to ask yourself these questions and do your research accordingly. Essentially, it's all about the trade-offs. Personally, what I did was to calculate the cost of living for many possible scenarios, with figures on average: high rent but walking distance vs medium rent with short commute vs low rent with long commute etc; you get the idea. And besides the monetary cost, there is also the psychological cost. For example, some people really don't like using the tube as it can get hectic sometimes. From that perspective, it's not worth going for a cheap-rent-long-commute combo if that will make you miserable for a year.

As a rule of thumb, the neighourhoods surrounding Hyde Park can be quite expensive; Kensignton, Mayfair, Bayswater, Chelsea, Hampstead and Westminster are just some of them and they all have been historically upper-class, benefiting from the park itself, their central location and their great transport links. Of course there are always expections to the rules and you might be able to find a gem somewhere there, but with 160pw budget, logic suggests you should look elsewhere.

So the farther you move from Imperial, the cheaper it gets. You might wanna consider locations West of Imperial; Hammersmith, Fullham, White City and Shepherd's Bush are pretty popular choices among Imperial students from what I've seen. They're all kinda close to uni and rents are very reasonable and within your budget. Or you might wanna check locations South of the river, which can get signifcantly cheaper. But of course that might mean longer commute.

Also, dunno if you're aware but you could use Imperial Home Solutions (you can find it on the accommodation tab). It has flat ads from trusted landlords. There is also a message board with sections for students advertising available rooms and students looking for a room.

Sorry for the long post, hope that helps.
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Mainguy
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In the same boat as you my friend, doing a masters starting in fall and weighing up the options. I must admit the best bet so far seems to round up a group of fellow Imp postgrads and grab a full house rental, e.g. Look at this:
https://www.gumtree.com/p/5-plus-bed...ust/1178369139

Beats moving in with randoms, great area and a lovely place - I reckon with the right group it could be a fun year. A lot cheaper than the gradpad halls too.
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ClassicallyZo
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spareroom.co.uk is a great resource! I've had great success before on that site. I'm just firming up my tenancy agreement for a great place only 30 minutes (on the bus/tube) from Imperial with some lovely sounding people. Decent price too! There are a lot of properties and some are great, some are not. I'm not in the UK so I did Skype interviews and it seemed to go quite well.
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zhiyualice
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Same problem here...
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crud.bee
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All experience anecdotal...

As undergrad I got both worlds, the halls and the private rent. Your best bet if halls are straight out of budget is to gather the grads as stated above. Most undergrads will have already sorted next years house, so it may be difficult to find the close good deals (We found something in Earls Court).

I found a studio in South Kensington, but at 215ppw it ended up nearly just as expensive ashalls, which lets you only pay for the weeks from start to end of term.

If you do rent, be very very careful that your contract includes a break clause (most usually will) that lets you break off the contract early, usually after 6 months, with no extra fee.

You will also likely not have someone earning enough to be a guarantor. This is someone that will be responsible if you dont make rent, and in London that usually means a millionaire (<- only a slight exaggeration unfortunately). As a result, you will probably be asked to pay rent 6 months up front. If you break early, the remaining rent is returned.

If you are unfamiliar with the process of rent in the UK, imperial has great resources and a helpful team.

Ask away about anything if need be!

PS: Selkirk is the obvious choice of halls, I am obviously not at all biased in this opinion due to my being a hall senior next year
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