College life can be challenging, especially with numerous changes that come with it. For instance, students need to learn how to live by themselves and get out of their comfort zones once they enter college. Some of them may also have to choose whether to move to off-campus housings or settle in nearby areas when choosing for an apartment. With that, comes a lot of responsibilities, including shouldering the rent, food allowances, and utilities.
Although there are plenty of benefits in staying in on-campus dorms, opting for off-campus ones could also be beneficial to students in some ways. Aside from being a lesser expensive option, students also have the chance to choose larger living spaces, live on their own rules, and gain more life experiences.
If you’re wondering about where to get started with your off-campus renting journey, you can consider browsing through reliable online sources like Vintageattabernacle.com and other websites. You also seek help from off-campus developers and landlords for better housing options.
Must-Know Things When Looking For Off-Campus Housing
Searching for a nice apartment, picking a roommate, navigating your lease, managing your scholarships, and other renting processes could let students have a difficult college life. Not to mention their lack of experience about better housing options, as many factors could affect one’s decision-making when selecting a nice apartment. Students may also struggle with switching from living on campus to expanding their horizons outside the school premises.
To better help your search for the ideal off-campus rental, here’s a list of some important information you need to know about scholarships and off-campus housing:
1) Start Early
It’s been said that students who started early with their renting processes have better chances of getting the most comfortable spaces, cheaper options with better benefits, and apartments that are near their target areas.
If you’re a first-timer in this task, you must avoid waiting until the start of the new school year before looking for your place. If you do so, the nearest ones may get fully occupied immediately. Also, note that the mainstream rental market can be extremely competitive and high-paced, so you might run out of better housing options if you’ll wait idly at the corner.
Instead, you can start your search earlier and get yourself accustomed to the latest off-campus housing trends for better deals. You may also start creating a list of housing options for easier decision-making.
2) Determine The Cost Of Living
If you’re planning to move off-campus and try living in a foreign place, one of the most important aspects you must consider is the cost of living. Typically, this part is often disregarded by many, which makes it harder for them to adjust to their new place. Beginners need to know the extra costs of living in their prospective apartment. By doing so, they could avoid getting overwhelmed with such bills and financial responsibilities.
Generally, on-campus dorms cover all your internet fees and utility costs, which may not be the same as off-campus ones. Therefore, you’ll have to shoulder all the expenses, not to mention the transportation costs and extra fees. So, before paying for an apartment, do consider the difference between these two options. Also, you must study the current cost of living in your preferred places.
For starters, you need to learn how to handle expenses when living in off-campus housing. These expenses include gas, insurance, transportation, parking costs, groceries, rent, electric bills, and water bills in your chosen apartment. To save more money, you can also plan your meals and prepare your food as much as possible to avoid spending too much.
3) Evaluate Other Options
When looking for an off-campus dorm or apartment, you must not limit yourself to only a few options. Ideally, you need to have at least five more housing options to ensure choosing the best place to stay in. To do that, it’d be better to know the rental market trends in your prospective area and learn how it works. In some cases, students get to have off-campus apartments that are affiliated with their schools, which is a relief for them.
If you get any luckier, you can gain access to student housing options to get the best housing deals. You may even apply for a scholarship to fund your college expenses after paying for an apartment. Asking for assistance from leasing companies that provides an alternative housing option for students to pay could be beneficial. It may have an individual lease per bedroom, unlike the others that require them to pay for a master lease.
Above all that, it’s best to always consider other options when choosing an off-campus apartment and list down alternatives to avoid settling for a less comfortable place.
4) Stick To Your Budget
In most cases, students aren’t the ones who solely shoulder their expenses inside the campus. Some of their expenses are handled by the school as part of their tuition, included in the scholarship grant, while the others come out from their parents’ pockets. However, some of them work as part-timers and manage their living expenses. Whether your budget is from your part-time jobs, scholarships, or side hustles, it could help to always stick to your budget. This is true, especially when choosing an apartment.
Specifically, understanding what you can afford to pay is crucial in helping you cut down your unnecessary expenses and prioritize your basic needs. In terms of choosing an off-campus dorm, you could opt for places that are cheaper yet still ideal to live in. With a wide range of available options to choose from, doing such tasks can be pretty manageable.
Knowing your budget doesn’t only help you to manage your finances efficiently and avoid overspending, but also enables you to allocate your budget to some important aspects. These expenses may include the following:
Utilities: Utility costs are among the top financial aspects you must take note of when considering living in an off-campus apartment. In some cases, on-campus apartments handle all or some of such fees, while off-campus housing doesn’t.
Particularly, you might need to manage some of your budget for gas, water, electricity, internet, heating, cooling, and trash services, not to mention parking fees. By doing this, you can effectively improve your off-campus stay.
Security deposit: Aside from utility costs, you also have to be mindful of security deposits. Typically, apartments require student tenants to pay for these, which could be as much as their apartment’s rent. Landlords do that to cover potential damages that may occur during your stay in the apartment. In such aspects, it’d be better to prepare for such fees as well upon your move.
Laundry: Fortunately, you can use coin-operated washers and driers provided by some off-campus dorms. For just a few dollars, you can already wash and dry your clothes.
Pet fees: It’s common for students to have pets with them in their apartments or dorms. For those who are living alone, it could be lonely without a companion. Due to that, many of them are bringing their pets when moving to another apartment. If you’re also bringing your pet with you, expect to pay an additional fee for your pets. Some off-campus apartments charge a deposit or extra monthly fee for student tenants with pets depending on their policies.
5) Prioritize Safety And Security
Before signing any contract for your off-campus dorm, always make sure to check the place’s safety and security. For starters, you can check the blueprint of the dorm for fire exits or emergency stairs. Ask the landlord for questions, such as how people enter and go out of the building, or when was the last time the security locks are changed, or what’s the neighborhood like. By doing so, it would ensure your optimum security and protection.
It’s also essential to prioritize asking queries regarding the building’s safety and conduct your research on your prospective off-campus apartment. This must be done before entering any term and contract to avoid choosing the wrong ones.
6) Consider The Amenities
One of the most common factors that influence students to live off-campus is their freedom. Having the chance to live on their own and live independently outside their comfort zones are only some of the primary perks of picking off-campus dorms. However, an apartment’s amenities serve as the deciding factor for students to choose a specific student housing. Particularly, students aim for dorms that offer unique facilities, including fitness centers, leisure rooms, and laundry facilities.
Also, know if your chosen place offers student-friendly and education-focused facilities that could help improve their college experience. In particular, ideal student housing should be close to the campus, offers strong internet connectivity, and has separate bed-and-bath spaces. These features are mainly designed for students’ comfort and convenience.
7) Study The Lease Details
When choosing off-campus housings, another important aspect you need to prioritize include the lease details and duration. Although some students may give lesser regard to this aspect, it’s crucial to read the fine print of your lease before you sign any contract or commit to any arrangement.
Generally, your lease details consist of all the relevant information about your prospective apartment. This information must include the exact rent amount, payment processes, duration of the lease, and other restrictions that may affect your stay. Also, the common length of the apartment lease may last at least one year. So, before paying for an apartment, determine how long you’re going to stay in your apartment, whether it’s for a year or just for the entire school year.
To avoid a breach of the lease agreement, which can be costly and time-causing, you may consider talking to your landlord or leasing agent. Always consult with an expert about your preferred lease duration and create a coherent negotiation to avoid future conflicts.
8) Choose A Roommate
During your search for an off-campus dorm, you must first decide whether to go solo or stay with a roommate. It’s also the same if you want to share your space with multiple people to reduce renting costs. If you want to lessen the burden of your rent, you can opt for a roommate with whom you can share the costs and choose someone trustworthy.
Ideally, it’s best to share rooms with your close friends or classmates, but that’s not always possible. When searching for a roommate, you can either post on social media and if you succeed in finding one, you can ask them about the following basic details:
Distribution of spaces and household items,
Credit ratings, and
9) Apply For Scholarships
For students, scholarships are among the most important resources they can use to reduce their college expenses or tuition. It’s also a tool for them to aid in their college life and enhance their study experiences. With that, you can consider looking for college scholarships provided by your university and process your requirements earlier.
In some cases, scholarships are announced during the first weeks of the school or the student orientation programs. During these times, students from different courses are given the chance to apply for scholarships offered by their respective colleges. Also, you can consider scholarships offered by private sectors and organizations for selected students.
Luckily, you can explore different college scholarships to effectively finance your studies through merit-based scholarships, sports scholarships, and need-based scholarships. You can also apply for a student loan, get a part-time job, or claim educational tax advantages to ease your college finances. Even if you opt for an off-campus dorm, there are greater chances of your financial assistance being estimated the same way when you’re living inside the campus. This is a viable option as long as you’ve accomplished its requirements.
Living in off-campus housing isn’t as easy as it may seem, especially if you’re a first-timer. Although there are numerous perks you get to enjoy living by yourself, various challenges could also arise upon making such decisions. These issues include searching for good housing options and processing your current scholarships.
Also, you’ll have to manage expenses and handle other processes of moving in. Fortunately, there are plenty of available options for you to consider, including seeking help from reliable leasing and housing companies online or asking credible landlords about the latest student housing alternatives.
You may also consider the abovementioned tips and considerations when planning your move outside the campus and applying for a scholarship. Through these, your off-campus stay can be much better and bearable.