Where to live in Selly Oak (or Harborne)Watch
I'd like to live in selly next year and was hoping someone could help me out with a bit of advice.
Which roads do you recommend in selly that are quieter & safer, but still a good distance to uni (med school specifically) and either selly oak or uni train station. Are there any to avoid?
I'm also a bit worried with the amount of break-ins I'm hearing about, is it something to worry about?
Any advice on Harborne will be helpful too. Plus any general advice about letting agents, housemates etc. for someone who's a bit clueless and doesn't know where to get started
I'm aware I've left this all a bit late, do I still have a good chance of finding somewhere nice in feb?
I'm James and i'm a 4th year student who's lived in selly oak for the last 3 years so can hopefully help you shed some light on things! I really enjoyed living on Heeley Road in my 2nd year, as my house was almost opposite the station, it was super conveniant to get the train into town, but was also a reasonable walk into the centre of uni ~10-15mins. My currrent house is on Alton, and although it's closer to uni, its further to get to the train! Generally speaking though, having a lower house number means you'll be closer to both!
If it's quiet you're looking for in a potential house, I'd really recommend harbourne. One of my friends lived there in her 2nd year, and it's much less hectic than Selly! The area tends to have more families/young professionals so will be typically quieter than Selly which is mostly undergrad students. Another possible benefit for you would be that the walk in from harboune is past the med school, so you might save some time if that's where you're primarly based.
With regards to breakins, i've not had any problems with anything like that in my years living in selly, neither have any of my friends had incidents. There should be nothing to worry about so long as you employ a sensible amount of common sense (e.g. not leaving doors/windows open). Incidents seem to mostly occur when people lack this common sense and leave their windows open!
Finally, you've definitely got plenty of time to sort out a house for the next year! Last year I didn't sort it until April, if you're struggling for housemates or something be sure to check out the Fab 'n' Fresh facebook page, lots of people look for housemates on there, or maybe head into University Living in Uni Centre, as they may have options for you!
Hope this helps, if there's anything else, let me know and i'll try and get back to you!
Firstly, try not to worry too much about the crime and break ins - it’s no worse than any other student area. Just be vigilant, be aware of your surroundings, lock doors, windows etc. It’s rare for robbers in the area to forcibly break in, although it does happen sometimes, but that’s down to luck really. If you’re really concerned, don’t get a house on teighnmouth road because that seems to be where a lot of the ‘action’ is.
Selly Oak is a typical place to live - the majority of houses from Bournbrook Road to Heeley road are all student lettings. Prestige properties are terrible. King and co. were the best I’ve dealt with, really professional and don’t rip you off like every other estate agent in Selly. Strongly recommend them. If not, Amber Court and Househunt are alright.
Harborne is much nicer than Selly, but it can be very dead with not much nearby unless you’re near the high street. A decent alternative would be to get a house in the Rebecca Drive/Frederick Road area. These streets are still in selly but more residential (i.e. quiet and not full of converted 8-10 bed student houses packing you in like sardines), they’re near the 2 retail parks that have Sainsbury’s, Iceland, Wilko, M&S etc and the walk to uni/Selly train station isn’t too bad. Probably took me about 20-25mins to walk to uni (depending on the building) and I’m a slow walker. It’s not as convenient as living on 20-something Tiverton road, but you get the benefits of living in a normal 3,4 bed semi-detached in a nicer area, rather than a converted student terrace. Also, these roads, particularly Frederick, have a driveway which is rare, are on average cheaper than the main bit of selly and I was even able to negotiate dropping the summer rent and got a lease from September-July. Would save you money if you don’t plan on living in the house at all over the summer.
Also, please don’t feel pressured to sign for a house you’re unsure of. Some agents do use these tactics and I (and my housemates) fell for it the first time we signed for a house. It’s not true that all student houses are off the market by November/December, yes a lot can go around this time but I’d recommend doing as many viewings as you can rather than rushing. I’ve found housing from really early in the year (Nov-Dec) to really late (June) and I’ve still managed to find places to live that are decent.