March is the time of year when students all over the country begin to search for off-campus housing. Whether it’s an apartment or a house, there are several things you need to know before searching for a new home. To help out, we’ve put together a list of some of the more important factors to consider while making a seamless transition into your first off-campus home.
Pick the Right Location
The first step in finding off-campus housing is determining where you want to live. Staying within close proximity to campus is essential for students, especially if you don’t have access to a car. If your new home is not within walking distance of campus, it’s important to select a location close to public transportation.
Another consideration for students is looking for housing that is part of a college community. There are many apartment complexes and neighborhoods primarily made up of college students, which helps to provide a similar atmosphere to living on-campus.
Read the Lease
Reading a lease for the first time can be very intimidating. No house or apartment is the same, as each landlord will have different rental policies. This is why it’s important for students to take the time to familiarize themselves with the language of the lease and come prepared with questions. Before signing any papers, make sure you have a clear answer to all of your questions, such as monthly rent payments, if the unit is customizable, the out clause in the housing agreement and even the pet policy.
Observe the Building
Once you find the housing unit you’re interested in renting, you’ll likely walk through the space with the landlord to get a better feel for the home. As you take these tours, look carefully at the structure of the building. Being prepared with questions about the age of the building and questions regarding past damages are critical in order to understand what you may be responsible for upon moving out.
Find a Reliable Food Source
Most students living on-campus use a meal plan for food. When it’s time to move off-campus, students will need to find a food source near their home that offers affordable and healthy options. What many students do not know is that purchasing groceries at a local supermarket can be more affordable than frequently eating out or ordering takeout. Before deciding on a place to live, explore the area and make sure you have access to a supermarket or a similar food source.
Once you’ve signed the lease, you’ll need to plan out how you will be moving into your new home. The act of purchasing and physically moving furniture into a new home can be very challenging, which is why many students take advantage of furniture rental services. Students can rent furniture from CORT and have it delivered and assembled in their homes for little cost and minimal hassle.
There’s enough stress that comes with being a student to have to struggle with finding off-campus housing. As you go through the process, remember to keep these tips in mind and you’ll find yourself more confident in making your decision.