What You Should Look for When Choosing Student Housing
Finding the right place to call home during your college years is tricky. This is probably the first time you have lived away from your parents, and while may think you know what you want, it can get a lot harder when you are trying to balance school, life, and even the expectations of your roommates.
Transportation to and from the university is a huge factor when choosing where to live. Is your housing on the CAT Bus route? Can you ride a bike or walk? Check out the parking situation. If you live close enough to campus, you may not need or want your car, but what about visitor parking? If you choose to have your automobile with you, do you have a designated space, or is it an open lot? Do residents receive preference with parking passes?
Find out if utilities are included. Some housing includes all of them in your monthly rent, while others will incorporate only certain utilities, like internet. Knowing this upfront will save you from any surprises, and let you know which utilities you need to sign-up for on your own. Rents may be a bit higher at places that include utilities in their overall fee, but keep in mind that what is included in that payment and it may be cheaper than paying for those services separately.
You want to make sure that where you live coincides with your lifestyle outside of class. Social and active lifestyles are also what make the college experience great. Having an apartment that offers amenities like gathering areas, pools, clubhouses, green spaces, and fitness facilities will only add to your enjoyment.
While college life is fun, you do need to consider safety when choosing a home. At the minimum, the surrounding areas should be well-lit and locks on your doors should be in good working order. Ask if tenants receive background checks and what kind of access visitors have to the building.
Of course, before you sign on the dotted line, you need to come up with a budget. Take into consideration not only rent, but utilities (if they are not included), and pet fees. Sit down with someone who knows an average of how much groceries and other expenses will cost, and then determine what you can afford. When touring apartments, go with everyone you plan on living with so there are no questions about bedrooms and who is sharing a bathroom.
Whether you choose to live in an on-campus dorm or an off-campus apartment, there are a lot of things to take into consideration that will impact your day-to-day college experience. But, just because this may be your first or second time renting, doesn’t mean you can’t be savvy and find the perfect home away from home.