Many students enter their junior or senior year of college knowing they have to move off-campus either due to housing restrictions on campus or a desire to have their own space with their best friends.
The search for housing is both exciting and stressful especially if you have no idea what to expect when renting a house or apartment.
Here are a few tips to help make the process easier!
1. Choose roommates
Before looking for an off-campus home, consider who to choose as your roommates.
Just because you have a lot of fun with someone does not mean that they will be reliable, responsible or clean so it is important to remember that each person you live with follows the rules of the lease and not be a liability.
Also, if a person is studying broad, you should go over the financial consequences of this with your landlord. You may be responsible for finding a replacement during this person’s absence in order to make up the difference for rent.
2. Start searching
Once you have your group together, the search begins!
Certain universities have resources specifically for their area of interest, however a good national website is ratemystudentrental.com.
This site can identify openings nearby while providing comments/reviews from past residents.
3. Start visiting
As your list grows, it is almost time to start visiting.
Before this can happen though, compile a list of requirements for the residency.
Central Air, whether each person has their own bedroom, heating and insurance costs are a few items to think about.
Since these can become complicated, asking for help from an adult you trust is recommended. A person who has experience with buying and renting may prevent you from being swindled.
4. Bring a parent or adult
Keep that adult with you when you tour the houses and apartments. Bring your checklist of requirements and ask the landlord tons of questions including things like what happens if something breaks, typical utility costs and the amount of the security deposit.
He/she expects you to not know anything about the location and will not necessarily tell you if there are problems or things you should know so unless you ask, you may not know until it’s too late!
Take lots of pictures so that you can look back at them later and decide if this is something you REALLY want.
5. Let someone else look over the documents
If you find this apartment or house to be the perfect fit, now it’s time to deal with the legal matters. Make sure the lease is looked over by a lawyer or someone who knows what they are doing and have experience in this area. If everything in the legal department checks out, it’s time to….
6. SIGN! SIGN! SIGN!
If the apartment or house is as great as you believe it to be, then other groups will probably be fighting for it.
Beat them to the chase by getting all of your friends to gather their portion of the security deposit and sign the lease immediately.