How to ace your search for your student apartment
Searching for an apartment while you’re a student can be overwhelming. Considering the competitive rental markets in areas surrounding colleges and universities, life with roommates, and the necessity of split-second decisions, an apartment hunt can be a very stressful situation. Here’s some advice that’ll help you prepare before going on that all-important apartment hunt to save yourself needless stress during your already crazy school year.
Do your research.
Financially, does it make sense to rent an apartment compared to living in residence? How much do you expect to save by living there? Depending on your location, budget, and if you’re planning on living with roommates, either option might work. Before looking at apartments, it’s worthwhile to spend time looking at what is available to rent on Kijiji, and getting a solid idea of what the rental market looks like in your area.
Talk to locals.
Try chatting with recent grads or current students of the school you’ll be attending to get some insights about prices, good neighborhoods and other valuable tips which can help in your search. Sure, your Kijiji research will give you some solid insights but it won’t tell you if a particular street is famous for all-night parties that’ll keep you awake all year.
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Set a budget.
Rent is the obvious consideration with budget but don’t forget the additional costs of apartment living. Does the rent include utilities like electricity, water, or heating? What about internet? Will you be splitting these costs with a roommate? How much will you have left to spend on food and transportation every month? Make sure you know all the answers to these questions before you sign a lease. Second-hand stuff will be your best friend, so you’ll need to browse sites like Kijiji often to find everything from toasters to tables.
Settle your roommate situation.
The more you discuss and agree upon with future roommates, the smoother sailing will be when you run into obstacles. How well do you know who you will be living with? Do you prefer quiet study sessions or boisterous game nights? Can you trust them to contribute to paying the bills? Also, set some ground rules before you sign a lease. Will your roommate be allowed to bring their cat? How will you rotate chores? Make sure you are all on the same page if you are embarking on an apartment hunt together.
Assess the options.
Living right beside campus is super convenient, but you may be able to save hundreds of dollars if you move a little further away. How safe is the neighborhood? Does it have plenty of amenities and services like laundromats and late-night food? It could be just as convenient to live close to your preferred grocery store as it is to live near your school. Whatever you decide, make sure you’ve explored all your options.
Secure your cash flow.
How are you paying your living expenses? Will you need a job to make ends meet? Are your parents footing the bill? If so, do they agree, or did you assume? Don’t commit to anything or sign a lease without having a solid plan to make rent every month.
It’s a lot of work and preparation making your move into your first student apartment but whatever you do in advance pays off tenfold in the future. A good mix of advice from others and your own research on sites like Kijiji should give you a good head start.