How to Find Your First Apartment

Finding your first off-campus apartment can be a real challenge. Explore online and school services that can make it a breeze.

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Have you decided that you’ll be living in off-campus housing for the upcoming school year? This can be one of the best decisions you can make as a college student. You’ll have more freedom than you would in a dorm and you’ll get a taste of what life will be like when you’ve graduated from college.

Searching for your first apartment must be taken seriously. Use these tips to ensure that residential life is as affordable and enjoyable as possible.

Most importantly, read your lease in its entirety before you sign anything. This is a binding contract that will be extremely difficult to break once it is finalized.

  • Check to see if your year-long lease aligns with your schedule. If you sign a January-to-January lease, you’ll have to look for new housing halfway through the school year.
  • Have a sublet plan ready if you won’t be on campus all year. A normal lease goes from August to August, so you’ll have to find someone to rent the place during the summer if you won’t be around.
  • Understand all the necessary payments. You might find an apartment with a great monthly rent. However, this same apartment may require you to pay a large security deposit (two months instead of one) and the last month’s rent upfront, which could push it out of your price range.
  • Take advantage of all your options. Apartment-finder websites, college housing services and management companies can all assist you.
  • Look at multiple locations. The first apartment you look at may seem like your dream apartment, but if this is your first time living off-campus, take the time to check out several options.
  • Research the management company. Many management companies look at college students as easy targets and take advantage of the fact that many do not understand all of the requisite services they should be provided with.
  • Purchase renter’s insurance. In the event that another tenant causes a fire or other disaster and you lose some or all of your personal belongings, your management company is not responsible for your damages. Renter’s insurance will cover this, however.
  • Look into all necessities and amenities. Does your complex provide you with an air conditioner? What about Internet access? If it doesn’t, do you have the capability to set these things up? Ask the manager before you sign a lease.

Most importantly, read your lease in its entirety before you sign anything. This is a binding contract that will be extremely difficult to break once it is finalized. In doing so, you’ll be aware of everything the management company must provide you with as a paying tenant of their property.

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

Your First Apartment
On-Campus vs. Off-Campus Housing
The Cost of College Room and Board
Famous College Roommates

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