So you did it! You survived your first year of school, living away from home in residence. What now though? Students looking for their first apartment for rent sometimes get so caught up in the excitement that they often don’t remember how overwhelming it can be! To try to help limit the stress, here are some particularly useful tips.
Secure your rental apartment EARLY!
Find a place and get it early! Just because school starts in September doesn’t mean there will be a suitable place available in September. Some students start looking for apartments to rent as soon as classes are done or even before. The early bird gets the worm (or great rental)!
Choose your Roommates Wisely
Everybody wants to live with their friends, but choose roommates that will still be friends after your lease is over. Even the best of buddies can kind of bug you sometimes. Make sure to choose your roommates wisely and don’t let the excitement of living with friends cloud your judgment. They should be trustworthy and responsible too. You don’t want to be stuck with an apartment for three and have one or two of your roommates bail on you just before move-in day.
When looking for an apartment for rent, if you fall in love with the first place you see, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Generally it’s a good idea to have backups though. You probably won’t be the only person that falls in love with a particular apartment. Look at multiple rental apartments and order them in terms of favorite to least favorite. That way if your first choice falls through, you won’t be scrambling to find another place.
Take a Tour
Seeing multiple rental apartments might be a difficult task if you are attending school somewhere that’s not your home city. But this is an important step in making sure you are satisfied with the first apartment you rent. This is actually a benefit of going with a property management firm as they have people that are made available for showings anytime. With private landlords, you’ll have to coordinate around both your schedules. This is doable, but definitely less convenient for you.
Look Over the Lease
Before signing that dotted line, take the time to go over the lease agreement so that there are no misunderstandings. For the most part leases are fairly similar, but to avoid any misunderstandings in the future, it’s a good idea to know your lease. Don’t wait until an issue arises to get familiar with the terms. By then it’ll be too late. A few key things to note are late rent penalties, security deposit conditions, and maintenance concerns.
Be Prepared to have a Guarantor
Not all, but the majority of full-time students do not have the credit history or the income to be able to sign for a rental apartment on their own so this is where the guarantor comes in. This is not to say students are irresponsible and will not pay their rent. It’s a way for the landlord to be assured that rent payments can be met so they don’t have to go through the process of evicting a tenant; never a fun thing to have to do. Parents usually co-sign for rental apartments for their children when they go to college but if for whatever this can’t be done, make sure you get somebody you trust be your guarantor. Co-signing a lease is a binding legal contract.
And of course, you should be having fun while looking for your home for the next year or more! Good luck!