If there is one thing you shouldn’t rely on, it’s your newfound college friends. Freshman year is a lot of fun and when you think about sneaking off campus to seek your own personal apartment for sophomore year, think hard about who you choose to live with and what kind of housing situation you sign up for. As if school isn’t expensive enough, you could end up in a world of debt from your off-campus housing. Consider these things before you start looking for apartments.
Why is your roomie so keen on privacy?
Many students in the United States move off campus for more privacy. At first glance, that’s normal. Many people don’t prefer a communal living situation. However, you might want to do some research to ensure that your roommate isn’t seeking privacy for another reason. For example, maybe they have drug or alcohol problem. Maybe they host loud visitors often. It’s important to get on the same page about what would be allowed at your apartment because if they get caught, so might you. And that certainly has the potential to get expensive!
How is the lease set up?
If your roommate misses rent, are you responsible? What if they drop out and leave town? Will you be stuck footing the bill? Some student housing leases are set up so that tenants are on individuals leases. That way, you aren’t responsible for covering the rent of another bedroom if it becomes vacant. Not all apartments for college students have individual leases so it’s important thing to inquire about upfront.
When do things fill up
Most landlords won’t sign a lease with a potential tenant until 6-8 weeks before their scheduled move-in date. However, the rules are all different in college towns. Many people start preparing for their fall housing in December, January or February. Housing, both on and off campus, fills up very fast. Housing in a college town is hyper-competitive so be sure to enter the game ahead of the pack rather than behind it. Otherwise, given supply and demand, landlords can push prices sky-high.
Looking for apartments off campus can be a great time if you take precautions and choose your roommates wisely. Good luck with your apartment search!