Feb 16, 2009 at 04:30pm IST

Tips on house hunting in new city

You are all alone in a new city. As if that is not bad enough, now you have to hunt for accommodation. You probably want to settle for the first place you see, but don't.

Here's what you need to watch out for when looking for paying-guest accommodation.

Phone a friend

HOME COMING: House hunting can be tough, but a few tips can guide you home.

Ask friends in the city to help you search for a place. You might just get a cheaper rent rate or even a deposit waiver because of their recommendation.

Bring in a middleman

If you have absolutely no one to help you out, find yourself a broker. Brokers have a network so you will be able to find a place much faster. Fix the brokerage fee in the beginning itself. The fee is usually one month's rent.

Small budget?

Get some of your girl pals to share the place with you. It won't be so expensive this way.

Legally yours

Make sure you sign a legal contract with the landlord. Also get receipts for your monthly payments so you can claim HRA (House Rent Allowance) from your company.

Read the fine print

If you are going to be staying on rent only for a couple of months, beware of clauses that state that the owner will keep back part of the deposit if you don't complete the contract.

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Hop, skip and jump

The most important thing is to find a place that is close to where you work or study.

Everybody needs privacy

So look out for a place that has a separate entrance. If that is not possible, at least ask your landlord for a key of your own.

Curfew!

Many places have curfew restrictions. So for all you party animals, look for a place with liberal timings.

No freebies

In places where the rent amount is inclusive of electricity bills you may not be allowed to use a computer, stereo, television etc. So make sure to find out about this before hand.

Also the place where you plan to live should allow you access to an iron, geyser and other facilities that you consider necessary.

On the house

Opt for a place that gives you at least one meal a day. Eating outside food everyday will take its toll on your health as well as your pocket.

You might also want to cook for yourself once in a while. Now most places do not allow you to keep a gas stove in your room but they might allow you to keep a hotplate. Ask your landlord for access to the gas stove as well as the fridge in the kitchen.

Now that you know what to look out for, happy house hunting!

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