Living in a dorm may be fun for a little while, but eventually you may want to move into an off-campus apartment. It could give you a bigger space or a private living arrangement. When you search for available units, you may feel overwhelmed by the many factors that complicate choosing a place to live. If that’s the case, use this guide to learn how to find off-campus housing in a new city with ease.
Campus housing provides limited options with everything included, so it’s simple to find a place to live. You’ll want to consider these essential factors to ensure that you move into the best place for your needs.
1. List Your Priorities
Figuring out your priorities is the first step in learning how to find student housing. Do you want a single-bedroom apartment by yourself or a place with roommates who can split the rent? You may need a first-floor unit or a pet-friendly community. List your top priorities and use them to narrow down the many options within your university’s city.
2. Create a Budget
If you don’t know what to think about for student housing, you can also start by creating a budget. You should make enough income to cover bills for living expenses besides rent, like:
- Water and sewer
- Gas or electricity
- Internet service
Your budget should also include a weekly allowance for groceries if you don’t plan on getting a meal plan for on-campus food purchases. If you can’t cover these costs, staying on campus may be necessary for a bit longer.
3. Check Transportation Costs
Many students trying to figure out how to find off-campus housing in a new city forget about factoring in their transportation costs. It’s one of the many considerations for student accommodations that gets overlooked. You’ll need a car to get to class if your apartment isn’t within walking distance, but then you also have to pay for car insurance.
You can also investigate transportation costs around your university. See if there’s a bus system with daily fees or if you’ll have to rely on taxis. Some cities, like Toronto, feature a bike rental program that may work better for people with tight budgets.
Compare the costs and use your upcoming class schedule to determine how often you’ll pay for rides and what arrangement works best for you.
4. Map Potential Accommodations
Once you’ve found a few rental communities you might like, map them out. Determining the distance from apartments to your college is an essential part of learning how to find student housing.
If you can rent a place right next to campus, you can walk to class and skip daily transportation fees. You may also find a nice apartment closer to your off-campus job or the grocery store.
Find the location of each apartment in comparison to your university and track how long it will take to reach your classes every day. The distance could rule out a few places and make it easier to select a new living arrangement.
5. Read Any Reviews
While you wonder what to think about for student housing, don’t forget about reading reviews. People leave reviews for apartment communities on numerous websites, granting you an inside look into what it’s really like to live there.
Even though a place may look great and have luxury amenities, it won’t be a good fit if the management team can’t keep bugs out of their buildings or maintain a safe community.
6. Check for Flexible Leases
Landlords in college towns may provide unique considerations for student accommodations. The typical lease usually locks renters into units for 12 to 13 months, but your school schedule may keep you from living there that long. Check for flexible leases by scheduling appointments with rental community representatives.
Discuss how long you’ll be in town based on your semester schedule and what you want to do during summer and winter breaks. They may offer short-term leases without hiking rental prices as high as rental properties that don’t cater to a student demographic. You can also ask if they allow subleasing, which would let someone else move into your unit and take over your lease if you need to move out before the lease expires.
Learn How to Find Student Housing
If you want to discover how to find off-campus housing in a new city, use these tips to get started today. Check every option, ask important questions, and factor essential costs into your future budget. You’ll find the best place to live by taking your time and investigating every possibility.
About the Author
Ginger Abbot writes about learning, living, and exploring for college students and graduates. Read more of her work on Classrooms.com, where she serves as Editor.