So you’ve decided to move off campus, either because you’re tired of res life or your university simply doesn’t offer housing for all four years.
Before you embark upon your journey to find your dream apartment/house, check out this list of tips that can help make the decision making process easier and less time consuming.
#1. Budget, Budget, Budget!
Before you go looking for apartments ask around – figure out how much other people who live in your area are paying in rent so you’ll have realistic expectations for how much this will cost you. Then figure out what your ideal budget is, and how much you might be willing to go over it if you find something better than you were expecting.
The right roommates can be the answer to a lot of problems – someone to split rent with, share cleaning responsibilities, it’s also safer. If you do decide to live with roommates it’s a good idea to try to live with the people you were living with on campus (if you got along that is.)
Many people (myself included) would advise against moving in with close friends because it can put a strain on your friendship. Living with someone means seeing them at their worst and them seeing you the same way; spending so much time together at home means you don’t necessarily want to see each other as often as you used to, which sucks if you used to hang out often.
Also, if you and your roommates are looking for housing you should discuss everyone’s budget and expectations before you start searching, to avoid any unnecessary drama.
Decide just how far away from campus will be a reasonable distance for you to move. The further away you get from campus the more likely the rent will be lower – but a long traveling distance makes that 8am class is an even bigger pain in the butt than it already was.
You are at college to get an education and skipping classes is not the way to go about that, so if you know you’ll wake up, realize how far away your class is, and decide to go back to bed, then living closer to school would be the way to go.
Talk to your friends or people in your class, especially if you know any seniors that might be moving after graduation, about whether or not they know of any apartments or houses that’ll be going up for sale soon. College kids move around frequently, and snatching a place up before it’s marketed to the entire student body could really come in handy.
How much space do you really need? Do you spend more time in your bedroom or in the living room? Are you the kind of person that enjoys cooking? Or do you essentially survive on take away? Be realistic. If you don’t cook much there’s no point in looking for an apartment with a huge kitchen – a fridge and microwave for your leftovers should be enough.
Look for a place that emphasizes the room you spend the most time in; make a list of things you think you need in a home to be happy, and things you can do without. For example, if you love taking bubble baths and don’t necessarily plan on throwing any dinner parties, then maybe look for a place that has a bathtub but lacks a large socializing space. For everything you want, add something you can live without to the list.
Louise Blake still remembers the struggles she faced when searching for suitable student digs, which is why she wants to make sure you get it right! Louise blogs for David Salisbury, a producer of beautiful conservatories and garden rooms.