Some college students can't wait to move into the dorm and exert a little independence. But the truth is, dorm living isn't for everyone, and you might prefer an apartment off campus. There's no rule that says you have to live in the dorm when attending college away from home. But if you choose to find an off-campus apartment, here are seven tips to make the search a bit easier.
1. Look for Responsible Roommates
In all likelihood you'll need one or two roommates to split the cost of an off-campus apartment. Although you're eager to quickly find a roommate and move into your new place, it's important to choose responsible roommates. You need to choose someone with a reliable income source, so you're not stuck with all the expenses. Also, ask questions about a potential roommate's habits. For the arrangement to work you'll need similar lifestyles. Problems might occur if you're a homebody who likes it quiet, but your roommate is a loud party animal.
2. Know Your Budget before Looking
Don't look for an off-campus apartment before understanding your budget. If you don't have a budget, you risk falling in love with an apartment you can't afford. You need to take into consideration how much you're earning from your job or how much your parents will give you each month.
3. Don't Feel Pressured to Spend More for a Nicer Place
What young adult doesn't want to move into a nice, luxury apartment? But at the same time, you have to understand your financial limitations. Your peers might live in nicer places, but if you can't afford the same lifestyle, don't overspend trying to keep up. In the end, you'll only hurt yourself.
4. Keep It Simple
Living simple is another way to avoid overspending. If you're living alone, you might like the idea of having a spare bedroom for guests. But since you're a college student, you can probably get by with a one-bedroom apartment. It might be small, but at least it's affordable.
5. Inspect the Apartment before Signing the Lease
Due to excitement you might quickly sign a lease and move into the apartment. Just make sure you thoroughly inspect the apartment beforehand. Make sure the appliances work, and if you notice any damage bring it to your landlord's attention. Look underneath and inside cabinets for signs of any rodent or bug problem.
6. See if a Short-term Lease is Available
Unfortunately, you'll pay more with a short-term lease, but if you're only going to live in your college own for the next nine months, and then return home for summer break, a short-term lease is best.
7. Talk with Other Tenants and Get Their Opinions
If you're thinking about renting an apartment in a complex, the manager shouldn't mind you walking around the grounds and checking out the amenities. This is the perfect time to speak with tenants as they enter and leave their units. Is the neighborhood quiet? Is it safe? Their honesty can reveal a lot about the community.
Living off campus is a step toward full adulthood, but it's important to choose your roommates and apartment carefully, and it's especially important to find a place you can afford. If not, you might have to return to the dorm or live with mom and dad. What are other tips for finding an off-campus apartment?