7 Things to Look for When Shopping for a College Apartment

Moving out of the dorms and into bigger digs is one of the most exciting times in your college career. Apartments offer more space, more amenities, and more freedom to live like an adult. It’s not uncommon for first-time renters to be overwhelmed by apartment shopping and jump the gun without doing their homework and weighing all their options. Before you sign that lease, check out these seven tips to keep in mind when shopping for a college apartment.

  1. Security:

    Your safety is of the utmost importance and your college apartment should meet your safety standards. While apartment shopping, be sure to scope out the entire complex and surrounding areas during the day and night. Make note of the security gates and see if there is a security guard on duty. Look for signs of potential break-ins and car theft like crowbar marks on front doors and broken windows. Talk to management and ask current residents if the apartment complex is safe and if they have had any security issues.

  2. Maintenance:

    Even though you won’t be able to tell how reliable an apartment maintenance crew is during a tour or drive-by visit, you can get a decent idea by examining the overall look and maintenance of the exterior. Evaluate the landscaping, community pool, and dumpster area. Make note of any noticeable damage, debris, overgrown grass, and dying plants because it may indicate that maintenance is slow to act and the complex does not take much pride in the look of their property.

  3. Furnishings:

    Before you start shopping for a college apartment, you should determine if you need a furnished or unfurnished place. A furnished apartment may include every piece of furniture and appliance you could possibly need or just the basics such as a bed, dresser, nightstand, TV, kitchen table, couch, coffee table, etc. A furnished apartment is generally more expensive, but it may be more economical than purchasing furniture or hauling it up from across the state or country.

  4. A good landlord/property manager/leasing office:

    Finding a good landlord or lease office can be hard to do, especially when you haven’t gone through the motions and seen how flexible or strict they can be. Before you sign an apartment lease, be sure to meet with the landlord or leasing agent face-to-face to get a feel for their personality, trustworthiness, and reliability.

  5. Size:

    The main reason college students move out of the dorms and into apartments is to have more space. Students want to be able to move from room to room, cook in a fully functional kitchen, and relax in a living room. Depending on how many roommates and pets will be living with you, you may need more or less space than the average student. It’s important to decide as a group if you want separate bedrooms and bathrooms or are willing to share for cost-saving purposes.

  6. Amenities:

    College students don’t need much, but having a swimming pool, gym, laundry room, covered parking, storage units, trash pick-up, and other amenities might be worth the added expense. Most of these amenities are strictly conveniences, but they can also foster a close community feel and an opportunity to make new friends.

  7. Commute to campus/work:

    When you’re done with class, you may want to get as far away from campus as possible or get home in a short five-minute walk. Proximity to school or work can make or break an apartment deal and significantly impact your studies. Find out the exact commute time to campus or work and inquire about alternative modes of transportation such as campus buses, shuttles, and trains.

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