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, the complications surrounding 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 instead of living in residence? How much do you expect to save by living there? Depending on your location, budget, and whether or not 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 to get 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 that can help you 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.
When considering your budget for rent, don’t forget about the additional costs of apartment living. Does the rent include utilities like electricity, water, or heating? What about wifi? Will you be splitting these costs with a roommate? How much money will you have left to spend on food and transportation every month? Make sure you know all of the answers to these questions before you sign a lease. When looking for furniture, second-hand purchases will be your best friend, so you’ll need to browse sites like Kijiji often to find everything from toasters to tables.
Figure out your roommate situation.
The more you discuss and agree 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, make sure to 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 before you embark on an apartment hunt together.
Assess your 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 of your options.
Secure your cash flow.
How are you paying for your living expenses? Will you need a job to make ends meet? Are your parents footing the bill? If so, did they agree to do so, or did you assume they are? Don’t commit to anything or sign a lease without having a solid plan to make rent every month.
Making your move into your first student apartment takes a lot of work and preparation but whatever planning work you do in advance will pay off tenfold in the future. A good mix of advice from others in addition to your own research on sites like Kijiji should give you a good head start.