5 Must-Know Tips for Apartment Hunting in College

Apartment hunting is something we all have to do eventually, but it’s especially popular among college students. As we grow up and become more independent, having our own off-campus housing seems like a rite of passage. However, most students find themselves in apartments they don’t really like that much. Here are five things to take into consideration to find the apartment you’ll get the most out of. 

  1. 1. Location

    Before you start organizing apartments by price, look on a map and draw a circle around your ideal location. You may be tempted to base your apartment purchase on price alone, but trust me, the location is far more important. Using websites like Zillow, BostonPads, or Apartments.com, you should be able to search for your perfect apartment within your location boundaries. Trust me, when you’re waking up for an 8 a.m., you do not want to be walking over a mile to your class building. 

  2. 2. Price

    person holding $100 Dollar bills

    Comparing prices before becoming set on an apartment is really important. Lots of different landlords offer the same or similar prices for entirely different apartments. For example, my roommate and I found a great apartment within our location boundaries with two beds and one bathroom for $2900/month. However, we found another apartment in the same location with two beds and TWO bathrooms for $3000/month. Only $100 extra for two bathrooms instead of one, plus, the apartment was much bigger! There are a lot of situations like these where prices will be very similar, but one apartment will offer so much more. Be sure to take your time finding the right space. 

  3. 3. Amenities

    A lot of landlords will try to trick you with very cheap rent, but nothing else included. This means that your water bills, electrical, WiFi, etc. will all be out-of-pocket on top of your rent. It’s very important to clarify with your landlord what the rent really covers. Sure, the apartment might be the cheapest you’ve found, but do you have to pay for laundry? Questions like these are important to ask if you’re on an apartment tour or going back and forth with the landlord over email. More expensive rent might be worth it if it includes all of your other basic needs within that price. 

  4. 4. Apartment Photos

    Person using laptop

    I’ve found that looking through apartment photos alone, you can find out whether or not the apartment is trustworthy or worth your time looking into. For example, if the photos are taken using a wide-lens camera, they’re trying to make up for the fact that the apartment is very small or squished. If the photos are dark, they are probably hiding a dirty apartment or an apartment with many surface-level issues. If the blinds are closed, the view probably sucks. Lastly, if there are no pictures of the bathroom, STAY AWAY! Checking for things like this will help you make sure you find a reliable apartment that fits your needs. 

  5. 5. Furnished or Unfurnished? 

    One part of apartment shopping that college students tend to look over is whether or not the apartment comes furnished. If you’ve never bought furniture before, you might not see this as a big deal. However, furniture is expensive. If your apartment rent is already on the pricier side and you have to buy all of your furniture on your own, it may not be the right fit. If you live close enough to the apartment you want to purchase, it’s less likely to be important since you can bring furniture from home. 

Renting a place can be stressful and scary, especially if it’s your first one. However, these five tips should get you through the process or help you get started to finding your dream home!

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