It’s that time of year again: lease-signing season! But before you head out into the jungle of real estate and red tape to search for a new nest, check out our top five things you need to know before you go apartment hunting!
1. Who do you want to live with? Sure, you’re best friend is awesome to hang out with, and she’s promised to stay tidy and bake cookies every Saturday, but is she really going to hold up the deal? And even if she does, is it really the best idea to spend 24/7 with your BFF? When considering roommates, make sure you consider how you will live with someone and not just how you feel about that someone. There is a very big difference and knowing that could make or break your friendship.
2. Where do you want to be? Location is the most important factor in real estate, so really think about where you want to be. Do you want to be close to class or close to your boyfriend? What is more important to you when you oversleep: a short walk, or being close to quality coffee? These are questions that only you can answer, but you should think your preferred location through before you get swept away by the in-house washer and dryer in an apartment on the wrong side of campus.
3. What do you need? So, yeah, a washer and dryer in your apartment would be the bomb.com, but do you need it? Is it worth sacrificing extra closet space? Would you pay extra for that? What about bathrooms? And living space? Make sure to sit down with your potential roommates and make a very clear list of what it is you want and need. This will keep you on track so you don’t end up spending extra on flashy stuff (like a fancy kitchen) when what you really need is ample parking.
4. How much are you willing to spend? Sure, you can be a block from class, have your own bathroom, and park a foot from your door, but it’ll cost you. It’s important to assess pricing and know all the costs associated: electricity, parking, water, cable… A house may have cheap rent, but that price can skyrocket when you take everything else into account.
5. When does your current lease end? In many college towns leases run from August through the following July. Unfortunately, dates aren’t always uniform, so make sure to keep this in mind. You don’t want to be kicked out July 28th with nowhere to go ‘til August 1st, or be stuck paying rent all summer when you won’t even be on campus.
Them’s the basics, now call around and get going!
If you have any other tips or advice for apartment hunters, leave them as comments!