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.