Choosing the right area, and the right street, can make all the difference between being happy and being miserable – you need to consider issues like distance, safety, local facilities, parking, and the 'feel' of the neighbourhood.
Distance: However nice the home, if it takes you an hour each way to get to and from your place of study the chances are you will soon get fed-up. And too much time travelling will reduce your time to study – or to enjoy yourself!
Even a short train or bus ride may be too far. Check the cost of tickets before you make a commitment. A journey which costs £2 each way may not seem much, but it will end up costing £40 a week if you need to travel to and fro a couple of times a day.
Local facilities: Make sure, too, that you have all the things you need nearby. Is there a good, cheap, supermarket that is handy? What about a Post Office? If there is no broadband connection in your new house, you will also probably need access to an internet cafe, or a library with a web connection. Is it close to a local park, pubs, transport links, shops etc.
Parking: If you have car, will you be able to park it?
The Neighbourhood: How noisy is the area? Some areas are quiet at night and noisy in the daytime – some are the other way round. Visit at different times to get an overview. How safe are the streets? Would you be comfortable walking home alone at night? Students tend to like living near other students, but is the area a student ghetto?
There is much talk recently of studentification – whole areas rented out to students, with all the related issues: noise, rubbish, poorly maintained properties, unhappy neighbours. It may sound great – then again, it may be your idea of hell. The basic point is: find out about the area before you move there.