Living off-campus offers a different experience from staying in college residences. For most students, this is the first time getting their own place, which is exciting. Renting an apartment off-campus offers several benefits, including more freedom and a more spacious place. If you plan to rent alone, you also benefit from more privacy.
Few Tips to Avoid Rookie mistakes
Renting requires a lot of planning, and it can be intimidating if you’re doing it for the first time. However, with a few tips, you should be fine and even able to avoid some of the rookie mistakes students make during house hunting. Here is some helpful advice for students looking to rent their first apartment.
Determine What You Can Afford
One of the major mistakes students make is choosing an apartment beyond their means. Before planning the move, calculate how much you can afford for rent. Off-campus living is more expensive than college dorms but offers more freedom and independence.
The high cost is associated with things such as electricity, water, internet, and gas. Furnishing will also cost you some money because most places are unfurnished.
Pick Your Roommate Wisely
Students often prefer to live with a roommate to split the rent and lessen the financial burden. Your roommate needs to be someone you can trust with your stuff when you’re out attending classes. They should also be clean and someone you can get along with.
Your friend might not always turn out to be the best choice for a roommate. So interview some people and discuss everything with your potential roommate upfront. Ask them about their schedules, study habits, hobbies, leisure activities (are they party people?), and other useful information. It’s good to know all these things before they move in.
Scout Different Neighborhoods Near the Campus
You want your apartment to be as close to school as possible so you can easily get to classes. Consider looking for an apartment close to a major road or a walking route to the school. Proximity to the college is essential, but there are other things to consider. Be picky, like you would be when choosing a site for essay writing help. The goal is to get the right apartment.
Before searching for houses, ensure the neighborhood accepts students because some don’t. Also, others are populated with the elderly and people with children, and you might feel out of place. Before you sign anything, scout the area, talk to some residents and assess what living there would be like.
Consider Your Safety
Your security is crucial when it comes to choosing an apartment. Assess the building to identify any security issues. For example, do the windows lock? Do people need a key to get into the building? Is there a security guard? If you have a car, how safe is the parking spot? Does the fire escape work?
It gives you peace of mind to know that you’re safe when sleeping and lets you focus on the essential things in your life. Also, if you’re going to move in, choose an apartment that’s higher up; avoid the first floor/ground floor as they are prone to burglary.
Inspect the Property Before Moving In
Don’t make a deposit or sign any contract before physically inspecting the apartment. There are a few scammers out there targeting individuals who aren’t careful. Inspecting the property also helps you identify any flaws in the apartment.
Have a checklist and note anything that’s damaged or missing while moving in. Note it down and even take pictures for evidence just in case the owner tries to charge you for damages when you eventually move out.
Read the Lease
Some people get too excited about finding a suitable apartment that they forget to review their lease agreement. Don’t just sign the thing; take your time to read it. Understand its policies on pets, trash collection, noise, and maintenance services, among other details. Review the monthly fees and termination policy.
Reading the lease carefully ensures you don’t encounter some hidden fees. It also helps you avoid signing a lease containing unforgiving terms.
Renters insurance might sound like burdening yourself with extra costs, but it is essential. It can save you a lot of money in case your valuables are damaged in an unanticipated event like a flood or a fire. It also protects you in case of theft, so you won’t have to start from scratch.
Living off-campus is an exciting step in life, and you’re right to be buzzing. The above tips should be useful in helping you make the right decision, but we might not have covered everything. You will often need to rely on common sense and your gut feeling to make important decisions. Don’t worry; you might make some mistakes, but learning from them is what matters.