Here’s 15 useful tips to help you find your next student rental.
1) Start your search early.
It may only be November, but for the off-campus housing market, it’s a popular time for students to look for properties for the following academic year. Start early to have your pick from the best of the best. Why not start here?
2) Do your research.
What’s more fun than doing research for your 10-page essay? Researching for your next place to live, of course! Use all the online resources available to you to kick start your search. Aside from rental company websites, check out your university’s off-campus housing services and peer reviews.
3) Make a checklist.
Write down your must-haves and compare it to the properties you visit. You’ll quickly realize that you might have to compromise to find the perfect place.
4) Location. Location. Location.
Want to live a skip away from all your classes and the campus library? Or would you love to have the grocery store, gym and your favourite nightly hangout at your doorstep? Take location into consideration because knowing where you want to be makes narrowing down your housing choices a breeze.
5) Plan your budget.
Pretend you’re a financially responsible adult and develop a monthly budget to help you manage the added expense of rent payments, on top of all your other life necessities like Friday night liquor runs and Sunday hangover brunch.
6) Get roommates.
Besides always having people with you to binge-watch Netflix, living with roommates makes monthly rental payments much cheaper.
7) See before you sign.
Self-explanatory. Always see something IRL and not just online.
8) Visit more than one property.
Visit at least 3 or 4 properties to keep your options open. Avoid falling in love with the perfect place then having to break up if things don’t work out. TIP: Book a bunch of viewings in one week to save time.
9) Ask questions.
Speak up! You should feel 100% confident about the details of your potential home away from home. Here are some good questions to ask if you’re unsure of where to start:
- Are pets allowed?
- What is your policy on overnight guests?
- Are utilities included in the monthly rental price? If not, what is the added cost?
- Do you provide cable and internet services, or am I required to look into that on my own?
- Have there been any major structural issues with the property in the last year?
- Have there been any infestation problems in the property within the last year?
10) Be prepared to leave a deposit.
Most housing managers and rental companies will require you to leave a small deposit to secure a property you are interested in renting. Plan to have some extra income set aside for any of your scheduled property viewings. (Apologies if you can’t buy groceries that week.)
11) Trust your gut.
If something in your lease seems out of the ordinary, trust your instincts and get clarification. Using a reputable rental company can also help take the guesswork out of the process.
12) Read the entire lease carefully before signing.
Your lease is the binding legal document between you and your landlord so read it over (more than once if you have to!) before signing on the dotted line. Asking another person to read it over is also a good way to catch any red flags that you might have missed.
13) Look into insurance coverage.
In the unlikely case of a potential burglary, fire or any other damage to your student rental, you’ll be glad you thought ahead and looked into personal coverage.
14) Think about decorating.
When viewing properties, try to envision how your personal belongings will fit in the space. House hunting is also a good excuse to round up your roomies and take a thrift shop field trip.
15) Move in.
Congratulations! You’ve found the perfect pad for you and your squad to call home for your next semester. The stressful part is over (but good luck moving in all your furniture). YAY ADULTHOOD!