How to Get Your First Apartment as a College Student

First Apartment for College Student
After the first year, most college students prefer to get their own apartment instead of living on campus. This will give you even greater independence and help you learn the responsibilities of adult life early on. Besides, it will certainly be a lot of fun. Renting an apartment, however, isn’t simple. Check out the steps you must go through and get practical tips on how to do everything right.

Preparing a Budget

You have to calculate how much you can afford to spend on renting an apartment while at college. When doing the math, include not only the rental rate, but also the additional expenses that tenants have to cover. These usually include the utility bills, although sometimes they may be included in the rent, and the subscription fees for the paid services that you will use on the property such as internet and satellite TV, to name some of the most common ones. You also have to take into account the number of roommates that you will be sharing the property with.

Defining Your Requirements

Location is the first thing to consider when renting a property. You’d want it to be close to your college and/or to have convenient public transport connections. When it comes to choosing a neighborhood, the ones that are popular with college students are usually the best choice as life will be easier in a community like this.

While most students can’t afford comforts such as having a private bathroom, you have to think about the things which you cannot go without and write them down. For example, many college students prefer to live in an apartment building where there is not only maintenance, but also a higher level of security.

Research and Evaluation

It’s best to start your search in the spring when graduates vacate the apartments they’ve lived in. The higher inventory at that time will give you not only a larger choice, but also more bargaining power. The more listings you check online, the better. Just make sure that you are using only legitimate websites.

It’s a good idea to keep a list of your requirements with you when you visit rental apartment. You should also have all questions which are important to you written down, so that you don’t forget to ask them. If you notice something strange or you don’t understand something, don’t hesitate to ask about it directly.

Signing the Lease Agreement

In general, the longer the lease is, the lower the rental rate will be and vice versa. Still, it is reasonable for it to cover only the school year, unless you are planning to spend your summer there too. When reading the agreement, go over the terms and conditions very carefully to get a clear understanding of your rights and liabilities. Go over the list of amenities and items and ensure that they are present, just to be on the safe side.

Last, but not least, before moving in, you should consider getting renter insurance to cover your possessions. This is an effective way to protect yourself against a major financial setback, even if you live in a highly secure building.

Where Is the Cheapest Real Estate in Hawaii?

Living in paradise comes at a price and this cannot be truer for Hawaii, which has some of the most expensive properties in the country. What’s more, the cost of living in the Aloha State is around a third higher than on the mainland. Still, this should not put you off buying a property on one of the major islands Oahu, the Big Island, Maui, Kauai and Molokai. Check out the places with the cheapest real estate in Hawaii, by local standards, of course.

Hilo, the Big Island

This beautiful old town has a center full of shops and restaurants, while being surrounded by beautiful nature. The Liliuokalani Gardens and Wailuku River State Park are right at your doorstep. The best part of all is that the median home price is $301,300.

Waikele, Oahu

The median home price in this town is $414,400, but you have to keep in mind that the real estate market is quite diverse and therefore you can find both cheaper and much more expensive properties. Homebuyers should know that Waikele is known primarily for its good schools and friendly community.

Waimea, Kauai

If you want to enjoy relaxed country living, then this small town may be the right place for you to buy a property in Hawaii. The median home price of $403,400 makes Waimea the cheapest town on Kauai when it comes to real estate. While it has only two supermarkets, it’s on the edge of the magnificent Kokee State Park.

Waianae, Oahu

This small community is far away from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu and boasts some of the best and least crowded beaches in Hawaii. Kapolei with all its enmities is fairly quick and easy to reach, however. The median home price is $308,900 which is over two times lower than the median for Oahu.

Wailuku, Maui

This is one of the cheapest places to live on the island popular with its resorts. While the median home price of $566,500 may seem a bit steep, it’s among the lowest on Maui. The town is peaceful and has a very slow pace – you can walk and cycle literally everywhere.

Ewa Beach, Oahu

This town currently offers some of the best value for money when it comes to Hawaii real estate. The median home price of $598,400 is expected to rise at a steady pace in the coming years. The main reasons for this are the family-friendly setting, the spacious homes and the wide variety of amenities, from beaches and community swimming pools to golf courses.

Housing benefit for single person under 35 years in UK

In the United Kingdom, there are certain housing benefit rules that are applicable to people who are single and under 35 years of age. This article will give a brief overview of these rules and explain how you can take advantage of them.

Eligibility

Before you apply for housing benefit, it is advisable to use a benefits calculator to confirm if you are eligible. There are instances when you might be required to claim Universal Credit. For you to qualify for housing benefit, these are the requirements:

  • Your savings are below £16,000
  • You pay rent
  • You are claiming benefits or have a low income

You are eligible to apply for the program, no matter if employed or unemployed. However, if you are living with a partner, only one person will get a housing benefit. If you qualify, you will be in a position to get a benefit for a single room in shared accommodation or a bed-sitter accommodation, if you are a lone.

Who is not eligible for a housing benefit?

  • You have saving of more than £16,000
  • You are sponsored to be in UK or an asylum seeker
  • You are a full-time student
  • You live in a relative’s home
  • You are living in the country as an European Economic Area jobseeker
  • You are under immigration control

The Shared accommodation rate

This refers to the rent level that is allowed for an individual who can afford one bedroom and shares a living room, kitchen and bathroom within the conditions of the tenancy agreement. In such a case, you can get housing benefit at the rate of a single shared room. This means that you may not get enough money to pay the house rent.

What happens to those who are under 35 and are renting privately?

In a situation where you have rented self-contained house, you are eligible for the local housing allowance rate for a one-bedroom house on the condition that:

  • You haven’t been paid housing benefit in the previous year
  • You were able to cater for your rent when you moved in.

In such a scenario, housing benefit will cover your house rent for the first 13 weeks. After the 13 weeks, you can only get the rate of shared accommodation.

Students

Full-time students are no eligible to claim housing benefit although there are a few exceptions. Part-time students who rent privately are allowed to claim housing benefit. Those who live in university owned housing are allowed to claim housing benefit if they fall into specific categories.

Additional Factors that are taken into account when determining housing benefits

After the Housing Executive decides on the rent level that will be used for the calculation of the benefit size, they must conduct a means test and consider all non-dependant deductions.

Means Test

The Executive will evaluate your weekly income to determine whether it is higher than what the government recommends. If so, you must use some of the money to pay your rent and contribute towards rates and charges.

Non Dependant Deductions

If you have a roommate, the Housing Executive may reduce the housing benefit that will be awarded to you.