Apartment Hunting: A Love Hate Relationship


There are some techniques in choosing the perfect apartment for you and your roommates or even just yourself.

Finding apartments can be described as an easy or difficult task. It’s easy because there are so many out there to choose from. But this is also what makes it difficult—there are just TOO MANY choices. Which one is the better deal? There are some techniques in choosing the perfect apartment for you and your roommates or even just yourself.

There are things to keep in mind when you are apartment shopping. Of course the basics would be to know the number of people you are planning to live with and the price range you are willing pay. Prices per rooms also range from city to city.

The closer you live to campus, the more expensive it’s going to be.

The prices of housing are significantly higher around campus, unless they are privately owned, in that case, it just depends on the landlord. But housing within walking distance of campus are usually corporate owned and are meant to be rented to students, therefore they are more expensive. However, pros to living within walking distance to campus are you can walk or bike to campus without worrying about parking permits and finding parking. That would save you a couple hundred per year, which you can subtract off your rent by month and get a better look at prices.

The more rooms there are in the house, the cheaper it would be.

One or two room apartments are more expensive per room than a house with four rooms. A good idea would be to find a couple of good friends or just compatible people to split a house or apartment. That way, everyone can split the utilities and Internet and such, cutting down costs. However, a tip to keep in mind if you are looking into renting a house would be to have everyone living there to put his or her name on the lease. This is not only insurance for the landlord, but also for each tenant. Imagine if one of your housemates can’t pay for rent, the landlord will come after the names on the lease. It’s always better safe than sorry. Also, a lot of times, the landlord will run credit checks to make sure the students will be able to pay for rent. Chances are, college students’ credit scores may not be enough, so be ready to have your parents are your guarantors.

Time. Timing is everything, apartment hunting included.

Usually around the last and second to last month before school starts is when apartment hunting is at its peak for students. With this in mind, companies usually will hold their prices tight and don’t really care for your business since there are more of you in line trying to get their place. But it’s unavoidable since it makes no sense to get the apartment any earlier than school starts if you aren’t around to live in it. But a good thing is that when school is about to start is also when graduated students are moving out so there won’t really be any problems with finding housing, its just the fact of whether it would be a good deal or not. Another thing to keep in mind about timing is the fact that waiting until last minute may not be a bad idea. Rent prices drop dramatically after the rush of students trying to find housing. Usually starting around September and on is when the rent gets cheap again, so keep that in mind!

The length of the lease.

A lot of apartments reduce the rent per month in exchange for longer leases. Be sure to calculate and make sure the length works for you. A lot of leases are 16-18 month in length. This could mean your lease will end in an odd time. If you are planning to take summer school, odd ending dates won’t make much of a difference to you since you can extend your lease. You can even sublease your room to another student that will be taking summer school if you won’t be around for summer. But if you are planning to graduate at the end of the year, then keep in mind the lease dates!

Furnished vs. not furnished also makes a difference.

Along with the idea of living within walking distance from campus and not needing to buy a permit and having that money go towards rent, having furnished housing is also the same lines. Sometimes, finding a furnished place is a good idea. Especially if you don’t think you and your roommates will need the furniture after you move out. It also saves the trouble of figuring out how to split the prices for the fridge or who is going to get the TV and who gets the couch etc. So keep that in mind!

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