By Samantha Cox
So you’re moving off-campus – now what? For the first time in your college years, you won’t be forced to participate in any weird ice-breakers with your RA or share a bathroom with 50 other people. You’ve got options now, and with that comes responsibility. But don’t worry, you don’t have to tackle the housing market alone just yet. We’ve compiled a list of the important stuff to make the process a little easier.
You’re moving off-campus, so the game has changed. Room and board now includes an electric bill, a water bill, cable, etc. You’re a big kid now, so you’re in charge of these things. It’s important to know your budget. Be aware of what you’ve paid previously, and what you’re willing to spend. When selecting an apartment, it’s important to talk with landlords about the cost of utilities and whether or not they’re included in a monthly payment. Be sure to note additional service/maintenance fees.
So you’ve probably got student loans, who co-signed? Having a co-signer on a lease is just as important. Talk with parents and family to see who would be willing to put their name on the dotted line.
When looking at off-campus housing, it’s important to consider your preferred living conditions. Are you a social butterfly? Or would you rather fly solo? When choosing an apartment, you’ll need to consider the type of person, and how many people you’d be willing to share your space with. Keep in mind, the cost may be higher per room if you choose to live alone, and apartments that house more roommates are often cheaper per person.
Know the neighborhoods, and how much time and money you’re willing to spend walking/commuting to class. If you’d rather not spend money on subway tokens/parking or have a 20-minute walk, then perhaps a place closer to campus would better suit your needs.
Nobody likes an empty house. Make sure you note whether or not your potential pad is furnished. Many an eager apartment hunter has found themselves with the lucky surprise of sleeping on a pile of blankets in their (SURPRISE!) unfurnished apartment. Find out if there is an option to have your place furnished for you (some will do this at an extra cost), or be sure you have furniture to bring with you, unless you dig the whole lawn chairs and folded table thing.
Do you need to be chillin’ with your AC when it’s warm out? If you’re a pack rat, consider somewhere that offers extra storage space. What about laundry? If mom isn’t doing it for you, it would probably be easiest to have machines in your building as opposed to lugging it down the block to a laundromat.
Most importantly, who showed you this place? Chances are, Joe Schmo from E-Z Realtors is probably not the most reputable. Make sure you trust the people involved. Find a trustworthy real estate agent or online aid to help you find your place. Get to know the landlords. These are the people that make sure you have a roof over your head, they’re kind of important.
Now, go forth and apartment hunt, young grasshopper.