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The College Student’s Guide to Renting an Apartment or House

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When the time comes to find the perfect living space for next year, there are some things that a college student away from home should consider before signing a lease agreement. Before committing to any apartment, house or duplex, you need to ask the right questions– after all, this is the space in which you will be sleeping, studying, entertaining, cooking and more. With these tips in mind you can be a savvy shopper and find a space that is the right fit for you.

Before beginning your search, make a list of the specific things you’re looking for, such as the type of housing you prefer, the rental cost per month, the number of rooms, location or neighborhood, square footage, and whether the unit is pre-furnished.

Once you’re ready to begin your search, first consider the obvious. How many roommates will you have? Once you’ve decided who you’ll be sharing your future living space with, seek housing with the appropriate number of bedrooms and adequate living space. Next consider the distance from your school’s campus. Is the home located in an area that is convenient for getting to class, with minimal traffic? Along with this, check out the general location of the home– is it in a good neighborhood? Or does it have bad neighbors, a high crime rate, a high noise level or is it located near a high-traffic area?

Ask what amenities are included in the rental. Does the unit come equipped with a washer, dryer and other appliances? What community amenities, if any, are provided (such as a pool or workout facility)?

Remember to ask the following questions of each property:

  • How long is the lease?
  • Are utilities included in the rental cost, or are they a separate cost?
  • Are pets allowed? If so, is there a pet deposit or a monthly fee? Is there adequate space and yard in the property for an animal?
  • Is there a security deposit for the unit, and is it refundable?
  • How is the space maintained? Is there a maintenance service available should you need anything repaired?
  • Will you purchase renter’s insurance?
  • What are the penalties if the rent is paid late?

Finally, thoroughly read the lease agreement before signing anything. Make sure you’ve read through all the terms and conditions laid out in the contract before you commit.

After viewing several properties, asking all the important questions, considering all the details and reading through all the available information, you will be equipped to make the right housing decision.

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