Depending on what school you’re going to, you may have the chance to live off campus. This could mean moving into a whole new place, such as your own apartment or house, away from the familiar grounds of campus. It’s daunting, the idea of living on your own and taking on extra responsibilities. There are tons of people who are living on their own for the first time and have no idea what to even look for when moving off campus. Here are some things that may help you if you’re taking the step of living off campus.
This is pretty important if you know that you don’t want to living by yourself, or if rent for off campus places tend to be higher and you don’t know if you can afford it. Finding someone to share the rent with and share a living space with could be fun and easier than having to live in the same room such as in on campus housing. Try to find one as soon as you know you will be moving off campus and talk to them about what they’re looking for in terms of housing. Discussing it beforehand saves a lot of trouble in the long run.
2. The type of place
Decide how many roommates you want before you start looking at place. This could determine what type of place you’re looking for. For example, people with 6 or 7 people may get a house while 2 people may just get an apartment. With roommates, you need to look at how many bedrooms and bathrooms there are as well as the layout of the place. Getting a 4 bedroom house with 1 bedroom may not work out if you don’t like to share. Also, do you want a party atmosphere or a quiet area? Think about which areas around town get traffic on those Friday or Saturday nights and whether or not you want to be a part of that.
3. How far away is it?
If you want a place in walking distance, look for one that you can walk to both in the summer and in the winter if you’re in a place with snow. Also, if you still want to feel like you’re a part of campus, try to get somewhere close to the school, so you can still be active in the school. If you’re looking for a place farther away, think about bringing a car. It may make things easier timewise. With that, you should look into parking passes, both at your residence and on campus. These are extra costs and if you want a good parking spot, you may have to get a place early in the year to secure that.
Most places will have you put down a deposit on the place to secure your spot. Ask how much that deposit is and when they want it by. Some places will have a discount if you sign earlier in the year than if you were to sign a month or two before move in. Also, there may be places that will consider a deposit as the first month’s rent, and others that may just consider it as extra money, so be sure to ask what the money is going to.
5. Rent and Utilities
How much is the place per month or term? Make sure to look at the fine print and ask if utilities are included, and if not, how much it will be. Many students get excited about the price until they realize that it doesn’t include utilities and they don’t budget that with everything else. Double check before signing anything and ask the landlord about when they want the rent by. There is no such thing as being too careful when signing a lease.
Is the place going to come fully furnished or are you going to have to buy everything yourself? Start looking at furniture and talk to your roommates about who will bring what. If you’re completely unprepared and don’t look into that early, you may end up splurging when approaching your move in. Take a look at the arrangement of the place as well as take measurements so you’ll know what will fit where.
Hopefully this helped you out a bit. I’ve seen multiple people go through this over the past year and I’ve definitely learn a bit from their mistakes and success. Moving into your own place can be intimidating, but if you know what to look for, it could make things a little less scary.