Living Off-Campus: Finding an Apartment
Are you planning on living off-campus in college, but you aren’t commuting from home? Chances are you’re going to have to find an apartment. Here are some tips on how to save some time (and some stress!) when trying to find your first apartment.
When to Start Looking:
Personally, I have been looking for housing since April, but my search didn’t really take off until June because the majority of what I found up to that point was summer housing only. Don’t let this fool you into thinking you can wait until July to start looking for August housing, though!
My advice is to start even sooner, if possible. Look at places that generally cater to college students, and ask them if they can notify you if someone plans on moving out at the end of the school year. Then come April and May, you’ll have the first look at places that are hoping to rent apartments for the fall. This will give you a lot more time to figure out your financial situation for the school year and come to a conclusion about where you want to stay, as well as giving you a better chance at getting apartments in better locations.
Where to Look Online:
There are hundreds of websites online where you can view apartments listings. Depending on where you’re going to school, there could be thousands of listings for your college town, or maybe only a handful. Your best chance at finding quality apartments, though, is to search through several different sites.
Your first approach should be to look through your college’s website. Most college websites have off-campus housing lists that can help students find higher quality apartments close to campus. Usually, if your college has an online feature like this, the apartments listed will specifically cater to college students and will generally be of a better quality. Take advantage of your school resource if it’s available to you!
If your school does not offer anything like that, or you can’t find what you’re looking for, it’s perfectly find to look at other websites, but use caution with especially ‘sketchy’ websites. If you can, it’s always better to try to visit the places you’re looking at, but unless you live very close to where you’re planning on going to school, doing so may not be easy. Just be careful with your searches, and don’t send any fees until you’ve talked with someone at the leasing office of the apartment you’re looking at, and you’ve done a thorough job of checking the validity of the website.
How to Know what Apartment is Right For You:
Before you start narrowing your apartment search, take note of what is most important to you about where you want to live. How close do you want to be to campus? Do you have a car or do you need to be able to walk to campus? Do you want a washer and dryer or are you fine with travelling to a laundromat? Are you bringing any pets? How many roommates do you have? Would you like a furnished apartment or do you have your own furnature? All of these things are important to take note of during your apartment search.
Remember this is a Process
Regardless of where you end up living, it’s not a decision that should be taken lightly. It’s important that you’re living in a place that you can afford, but that you’re still in a safe, comfortable enviroment. Be thorough in your search and if you have any questions or you get frustrated, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
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