By Madeline Lewis
Apartment hunting in a college city can be stressful. From finding roommates to deciphering the amenities at various locations, there is a lot to keep in mind. While everyone values different things in their apartment search, here are some tips to ensure you choose the perfect home for you.
READ THE LEASE CAREFULLY
Each apartment will have different aspects to their leases, which can have a big impact on your decision. For example, do you want to lease for a whole year, or just a part of the year? Check if the complex has different options, or if they allow subletting. If you have pets, make sure that they are allowed and check if fees apply.
CHECK THE ONLINE REVIEWS
Online reviews are a potential resource for a real insight into an apartment complex. Instead of looking at vague reviews, though, try to only take into account descriptive reviews. If the reviews talk about things like bugs, bad communication from management, or difficulties with amenities, then those may be red flags. Reviews complaining about noise or neighbors, on the other hand, are more subjective and commonplace.
Before or during your apartment hunt, consider what you want to prioritize in regard to location. You can also consider the pros and cons of each of them. If you want to be within walking distance to campus, it might be more expensive. If you want to be close to nightlife, it might be louder at all hours of the day. If you want to be closer to your job, your commute to campus might be longer than usual. Choosing an apartment is all about deciding what matters most to you.
TOUR THE APARTMENT
If possible, it is worth the effort to go tour the apartment in person. This provides the opportunity to meet the management and see how well they maintain the apartments. If you are able to tour the exact unit you are looking to lease, then be sure to really inspect it. Check the light switches and outlets, and make sure all the faucets are working. In addition, look under sinks or in corners to look for evidence of bug infestations.
FIND YOUR ROOMMATES
Roommates are a huge part of apartment living. If you do not already know who your roommates will be, check with the apartment management to see if they can help. Some complexes have roommate matching systems based on surveys, similar to college housing. Or you may be required to find your own roommate to sign a lease with. Take a look at the complex’s social media pages or community Facebook groups to find other people in the same situation.
REMEMBER YOUR FURNITURE
Furniture can be a big deciding factor in which apartment you choose. There are apartments that come furnished or unfurnished. Those that are furnished might cost more per month but consider the cost of furnishing an entire apartment. Also remember that you will need to transport the furniture to the apartment and move it in. Keep the length of the lease in mind when thinking about which to go with.
FIND HIDDEN FEES
When shopping for an apartment, the advertised rent price might not be the most accurate one. Some additional fees might include Wi-Fi or parking. Don’t forget about utilities. Even if a complex says that utilities are included, check what the capped allowance is. If it is a small allowance, you will likely be paying overcharge fees each month. CT