College dorm life is not for everyone. While many students like it, many do not. These students prefer to live off campus and start looking around for different housing arrangements soon after they begin college. For most, this will be their first time looking for an apartment to rent. As this is a new experience for many people, they need some help with the process of finding an apartment.
Talk to the student housing office. Their main function is to maintain the on campus housing but they may also have listings for off campus housing as well. They can also give advice about neighborhoods near your college and places to avoid. If you are not familiar with the area around your college campus, talking to the people in the housingj department can be a great way to start your apartment search.
Talk to other students.You are not the only student who has been in the position of finding an apartemnt off campus. Talk to people who have looked and found great deals and to people who have not. Both may have information that can help you with your search. Ask other students where they looked and what their impressions were of the areas around your school. They may have some good insights into different neighborhoods.
Look at a few apartments before picking one./strong>Finding an apartment is not always fun and it is rarely easy. Look at a few places to get a sense of what it out there. If you go with the first place you see, you may miss out on some great housing in the area. You also may find yourself paying more than you should. This is where you are going to be living for at least a year so you should make sure it is a place you will like calling home and that you can afford.
Ask a lot of questions.For some questions, the answers to some may be obvious. For example, if the apartment is across from a gorcery store, you can forgo asking about that. There are things you need to know when finding an apartment that will not be so obvious. Ask about what is and is not inlcuded in your rent. Ask about the utilities, cable and internet. If there is not a washer and dryer in the unit, ask about the closest laundromat. If you have a car, ask about parking.
Do not sign anything without having it checked over by a lawyer or other professional.Most landlords are on the up and up but some do take advantage of students. Some landlords put things into the lease that are completely illegal. Some red flags should go up when they require tenants to take care of maintenance issues that are clearly the landlord’s responsibility. One landlord near Georgetown University got his tenants to care for his “award winning” rose bushes until he tried to rent the space to a law student. Have someone you trust look over any lease before you sign it.
When you move in take pictures of your apartment.Before you move in, make sure ypu go through the apartment with a camera (the camera on your phone is probably fine) and docuement any damage or problems that are present. This is very important for when you move out. Most, if not all, landlords take security deposits for their rental units. If there is any kind of damage when you move in, you may beed to prove that it was there when you moved in. Take your pictures and store them on a flash drive to keep them safe. You can also email them to your landlord so there is a record they were talen before you took over the space.
Finding an apartment may not be the most fun thing to do but it does not have to be painful. Whether you are looking to rent with friends or by yourself, students looking for housing do have some great resources available to them. College student housing offices can look over leases and suggest parts of town that are better for college and graduate students. Be careful and you should be able to find good, safe housing that is within your budget.