You passed all your exams and are going to study in the Netherlands as an International student? Good, but the biggest challenge is yet to come!
Housing here can be extremely frustrating and confusing. So I'll try my best to make it only frustrating.
- What are the prices?
- Student Housing Organisations (like DUWO)
- How to look to find a room?
- Final words
All prices here are in EUR per month.
They are pretty expensive, and you will be spending ~750-1100+ EUR.
Prices usually vary in the range of 400-700+ EUR. And offers for <400 EUR are pretty rare.
I didn't look into this much, but as I see, they are
- Usually not so cheap (~600-100+ EUR / month)
- Usually require you to have a Dutch guardian with a high salary (so you don't run away without paying).
They have the best offers in terms of price to the quality ratio: 280-700+ EUR.
The easiest option. Just book the place, and that is it. A popular hotel is Praxis.
Note: The sooner you start booking, the better. Before summer starts, all hotels will be almost fully booked by desperate students with only the most expensive options left. But even if you are starting late, don't give up! Some students cancel their bookings, and new rooms are popping out from time to time. The best is if you can create a bot that will notify you every time there is a new room.
IMO the best option if you are looking for a cheap house. Let's talk about each of these giants.
Large platform with 50+ new offers every day. I have found a house here two times.
The process is such: private landlords and people who have a leaving housemate publish their room here. Everyone interested can respond with a letter. After a week or a few days, they will filter all ~100 letters,
and send invitations to online/physical viewing to around five selected ones. And after this, they will finally choose the new tenant.
- Zillions of offers.
- You can see people's renting history, so there are much fewer scammers.
- You can easily set up your filter so that Kamernet sends you an email when there is a new room.
- It is very competitive. I've heard that some landlords receive 100 letters in the first hour after publishing a new room!
- Because of first be ready to spend quite a bit of your time writing good letters and visiting viewings.
- You need to buy a subscription to be able to write letters to landlords. Both times I've found a room within a month, so I would recommend a two-month subscription plan starting in ~April.
- I noticed that the quicker your response, the higher your chance to get a positive response. I've been checking my mail for three times a day and responding on ~2-5 offers a day for a month.
- The letter is essential! If you don't make it a bit personal by putting your time & effort into each offer, no one will respond. They receive hundreds of letters, and select only ~5-10 of them. You can read how to write a successful letter here.
It is also a large platform owned by DUWO with lots and lots of cheap student houses. There are two main ways to find a room on this platform.
- Vote-in offers They are similar to Kamernet. People publish their rooms, everyone interested sends their emails, and chosen ones go to the viewing. There are not many vote-in offers on ROOM.nl, but there is no harm in applying.
Registration period ranking offers
this is the most often option. So basically ROOM.nl publishes offers, and people can participate in the competition for this room simply by clicking the button "I'm interested". After the deadline for submitting interest DUWO iteratively offers the room to the 1st person in the rank, then to the 2nd, ..., until someone accepts it.
The main issue is that ranking is based on registration time, so people who registered on ROOM.nl a month ago don't have any chances (usually over 100 people are competing...). Only people with 2+ years of registration will have some luck.
- Registration is cheap ~40 EUR, and it lasts 8 years, so I would buy it anyway since it can be helpful in the future.
- There is so-called "short-time" offers when there is only one day to show interest until the deadline. You can try some luck with them, but still, there will be 80+ people who will also apply.
Platform with many offers. They are usually more expensive than ones on the Kamernet but easier to get.
- The good part is that here there are no viewings. You book the offer like in a hotel, and the room is yours if a landlord accepts it.
- Since there are no viewings, you also can't check whether the offer is a scam or not. Probably there are not many scams there, but still, it is a bit scary.
- There are quite a few bad reviews about this platform from Berlin (about people being scammed and of no support in these cases). But maybe it is specific to Berlin or Germany only.
Personally didn't try this option since I've been using Kamernet. I've heard there are lots of scammers here. Plus people here aren't any less desperate than ones on Kamernet. I would pay this 40 EUR for some anti-scam assurance.
It is a platform that gathers lots and lots of offers from local rental agencies.
To be honest, I don't know anyone who found a room on this platform.
I wouldn't waste my time here if you don't have someone from the Netherlands with a salary who will sign a legal document that he will be paying your rent, in case you won't.
It is an easy option. If your friend lives in a room and his current housemate is leaving, you can use this opportunity. Sounds easy, but out of 10 first-year students, I remember only one person managed to find room this way (mainly by luck). So I wouldn't rely much on it.
If you are
- an international student or
- coming as an exchange student for half a year or
- you are a master's student
Then most probably your university offers you an option to arrange the house for you.
I would highly recommend taking it! Unless you have lots of money to spend on rent (<700-1000 / month) you will probably spend quite a bit of time on this process. And if you are living far away and can't visit physical viewings, then life will be harder.
- Start as early as March or April.
- Depending on your financial situation, choose the best way of searching
- Don't limit yourself to only one way. For example, I've been using both ROOM.nl and Kamernet.
- If you send letters to people, make them good and a bit personal. It will rocket your chances of getting a response.
- Don't forget that I am only a second-year student and am a little better than you ;) I don't know much about housing, so take my post with a grain of salt!
Good luck with housing everyone!
From my Probability and Statistics classes, I've remembered one thing.
Let's imagine you can wait time T, and you want to choose the best offer. In this case, you should wait T/2 time and remember the best offer you have had. And after this, wait another T/2 time and select any offer that is at least as good as the best one from previous T/2 time period.
I don't know whether it is the best strategy with housing, though)