The college experience often includes looking for an apartment. This can be a daunting task for someone who is new to looking for appropriate housing on their own, especially if you’re landing in Las Vegas and you don’t know the area well. If you’re searching on your own, here are some apartment hunting tips for college students that will help you find a place that makes you comfortable.
Location, Location, Location
One of the most important apartment hunting tips for college students is the location of your apartment. Ideally, you’d want to find a place that is close to your campus, for easy access. But if availability is limited, it’s a great idea to look for a place that has easy access to public transportation.
If you have no vehicle and are relying solely on public transportation, you also want to make sure you’re near grocery stores and restaurants. It’s also a good idea to consider a health care emergency, so be sure you have access to an urgent care clinic or a hospital.
Also, try to stay close to affordable entertainment options, such as movie theaters, sports facilities or parks.
When it comes to important goods and services, consider where these places are in relation to you. And if you’re new to the Vegas area, think about spending your money at women owned small businesses for those needs. Supporting small businesses is a great way to make sure you keep the money you do spend in the community.
And last, but not least, look out for security measures. Is the apartment development well-lit and has security on-site 24 hours a day for seven days a week? If not, does the complex have video surveillance designed to keep your property safe? These are apartment hunting tips for college students that can help keep you safe. There are also various apps that can help you keep an eye on your house as well. This way, you can see what is happening at your apartment if you aren’t there.
Think of every college movie you’ve ever seen. It usually involves wild parties and out-of-control situations. Here’s one of the most useful apartment hunting tips for college students you’ll find: Don’t do that. College means inconvenient hours for classes and late hours studying for exams. Consider a place where you can have some peace to do your work when it’s necessary. If you’re not sure how to determine the high-volume places, you can look for online reviews.
It’s not just your next-door neighbors you need to think about. You want to be mindful of other environmental noises, such as traffic from a nearby highway or a business that is round the clock, such as bars and restaurants that stay open late into the night. You can talk to those who live nearby during your search to get an idea of what you can expect.
How to Think About the Cost of an Apartment
When considering an apartment rental, one of the important apartment hunting tips for college students is to think about how this rental will affect your wallet. It’s natural to see the listed price of a property and think that that number is the only factor. For instance, if your rental is $600 a month, that is just the beginning. You’ll also have to be ready to pay security, which is a fee held by the landlord until your lease has expired. If you leave the apartment in good shape when you leave, you get that money back, but it’s still a cost you should inquire about up front.
By the way, you should also find out if you will be responsible for paying for utilities or if the landlord will cover those monthly costs. If you have to pay for utilities, this means water and electricity costs. It can also mean paying for cable, although more options are now available for streaming services.
You might also want to inquire about whether you’ll be required to handle the upkeep of your yard. Often, apartment developments and properties will hire a commercial landscaping company to maintain the exterior of all the apartments. If it’s something you’ll need to handle, then you’ll have to find a weed whacker or a lawn mower — and that’s an added cost.
If you are planning to move in with a dog or cat or other pet, there could be added costs there as well. Most landlords and developments charge a fee for owning a pet, and sometimes, if your pet surpasses a certain height or weight, you might be excluded from renting a place.
Another added cost could be parking in select developments where spaces are at a premium. You can likely mitigate this by using a bicycle where possible, or public transportation. Ideally, your apartment will have a garage where you can keep your car secure. This choice can also save you money on insurance — many companies will lower your premium if you have a shelter for your vehicle.
Room for More?
Let’s say you need a place and can’t swing it financially by yourself. You can search for a roommate. One of the best apartment hunting tips for college students is to choose a potential roommate carefully. If you’ve had the advantage of experience at your college or university it would be great to find a roommate who shares your major and understands any issues you might face. That includes coordination of schedules for classes or sports rehearsal activities that are set for a certain time. If you’re both on a sports team, you will likely have to practice at the same time, and this is helpful. This way you aren’t waking up early and disrupting your roommate’s sleep. Find out early if your potential roommate has scheduling issues.
You might also look out for your roommate’s dietary habits when it comes to allergies. Be sure to talk about any preferences and be mindful of foods your roommate couldn’t handle. You can decide if good needs to be stored in a way to separate your items.
Constant communication with your roommate is essential. It’s easy to have an idea of what you want in a roommate, but you also want to be sure that you are doing your part. Being able to receive valid feedback from a roommate is one of those apartment hunting tips for college students that will make your life easier. Just remember to be willing to compromise if you run into conflicts.
Read Your Contract
Now this is one of those apartment hunting tips for college students that can save you some heartache in the end. Be sure to look for a commitment from your landlord that holds them to their word, including staying on top of repairs and property maintenance. That should also include specific language around taking care of the lawn maintenance and how — or if — you should take care of that. You’ll also want to ensure that the refrigerator and other appliances are on the property when you move in. Sometimes, a property is displayed to potential renters with those appliances among the display items. This is protective for you, because it helps you understand how much you’ll need to spend to update the apartment to your liking.
Another factor when you’re looking at your contract is seeking out a detailed list of what your landlord expects once you live there and also when you leave. Some properties will not allow you to perform significant repairs on your rental, such as paint jobs. And these are factors that can keep you from getting your security deposit back when you move out. Other property owners will ask for a specific time frame before you can ask to move out. For example, if you fail to provide more than a two-week notice before moving out, you can be fined for not sharing that information earlier. That’s money wasted, so be sure to read up on your rights as a renter.
It’s also important to keep an eye out for your rights as a renter should your landlord or development manager not stay on top of repairs. It would be ideal if the landlord offered specifics about how long it will take them to find a vendor who can fix any problems.
If you’re concerned about how to decide whether to choose a certain location, you can also consult with a Realtor, who can help you better understand the contract and spot trouble areas that could negatively impact you later. If you pull in a real estate agent early on, they would be able to advise you on the best properties for you. This is one of those underrated apartment hunting tips for college students that aren’t always employed. But such an agent can save you time by determining your needs and then providing you with a list of your best rental options based on the filters you placed on your search. The Realtor can also offer additional insights about neighborhood development and which areas would best accommodate your circumstances.
Narrowing Down Your Choices
It’s suggested that when potential homeowners are shopping for a new place that they should take photos during walkthroughs so they can organize their thoughts and easily compare their options. This strategy also makes sense when it comes to renting an apartment.
You’ll need to keep your eyes open for many things, especially if you are renting from an individual versus an apartment building company. If you are renting an apartment that isn’t in a complex or a development, check the basics. You might want to pass if it looks like it needs replacement windows, because bad windows can increase the cost of your energy bills due to air escaping from badly worn windows.
You’ll also need to look for damage to other areas of the structure. If you can see that roofing services are necessary, then be sure to address it with the potential landlord. Roofing damage can affect many areas of the rental property, including ceiling and wall damage on the inside, and foundation issues on the outside.
If you want to be careful about your spending, you can also search for a place where entertainment options are available on the premises. Does your apartment complex have installed basketball and tennis courts? That can save you money if you’re concerned about maintaining an active lifestyle as you keep an eye on spending.
When it’s finally time to move into your new apartment, and you’re new to the state, it might be difficult to decide how exactly to accomplish this feat. If you’re traveling a long way, you can consider hiring a moving and storage company, where they can help you pack your belongings and store them until you’re ready to move.
Another option is using door to door movers if you don’t need temporary storage space. In this case, you might have to coordinate with your movers to make sure your items arrive at the same time that you do.
If your temporary location is close to your new place, maybe you can convince friends and family to help you. In that situation, all you’ll need are some moving boxes and some pizza to help convince your friends they should provide some sweat equity.
In the event that you are moving all on your own, good luck. For a long road trip on your own, make sure your car is looked at by a professional. Check that your tires are in good shape, along with your oil levels. An overall tune-up is a good idea, and you should also consult a mechanic for some towing safety tips to help ensure that everything will be transported securely
There are many valuable apartment hunting tips for college students to consider as you are seeking to rent, perhaps for the first time. Sometimes, it can feel like a lot to consider, but choosing the right place for you gets easier over time. If you’re like most people, you’ll move many times in your life. This will be a great learning opportunity and if you think about these tips as you search, you will find yourself in a place that’s perfect for you.