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Tips and Tricks for Finding the Right Off Campus Apartment

For every young woman, the day comes when she decides to strike out on her own, reaching into the bright, unwritten chapters of her future to grasp at a major milestone she’s dreamt of for ages: her very first apartment. 

Our generation is one that was raised on the idyllic scenes of Carrie Bradshaw traversing through New York City, her apartment filled to the brim with designer heels. We day-dreamed of waking up to be Serena and Blair, with a Dorota bringing us silver platters laden with champagne on which to sip as we gazed at Central Park from our Upper East Side balcony.

And yet, those visions all came to a screeching halt when we inevitably encountered the financial costs of adulthood. From mountains of student loans to the rising costs of flights to and from college, living off campus isn’t feasible for a lot of people. That being said, neither is living on campus. At Boston University, where tuition and other costs are raised by about 3% every academic year, it may actually be cheaper to live off campus.

Moving into your first apartment is an exhilarating feeling. Yes, you may be tied down by the restrictions of your landlord, but you’ll still be guaranteed much more freedom than you would have if living in a dorm or at home. That being said, finding an apartment, especially in a big city in which the options are endless, is an intimidating process. 


Sitting here with a heart full of Gratitude. Accomplishment #1: I GOT THE KEYS! After having such a crushing 2019, I’ve found that there is nothing more exciting than signing the lease to your very own apartment. Having our own oasis and creating our safe place. I’ve never lived alone, so to do this completely by myself and step out of my comfort zone was only God. Not only did God bless me, but he’s allowing me to break generational curses in the midst. I had been looking for a place for a few months and after I had given up, God literally placed somewhere in my lap. I pray that this home will be one of comfort, love, healing and safety. Not only for Judah and I, but for those that need solace. This season has been one for the books and maybe one day I’ll share, but God is still writing that part of the story and I’m taking each day to celebrate small victories. Here’s to a new home, new adventures, new memories and new beginnings. Let the fun begin! ??

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There are three fantastic ways to find an apartment in a city like Boston. The first is to simply walk around! This may sound silly, but you can discover a lot of great buildings by observing your surroundings. In BU South Campus, Allston, and the Fenway area, there are many buildings that advertise available residences. This is a fantastic way to find a home that you know is on your route to and from classes, as well as a way to find a space in a particular neighborhood. 

The second best option is to look at websites like Apartments.com and Zillow. These websites are a spectacular resource, because they allow a user to filter based on the amount of bedrooms, neighborhood, rent range… the list goes on and on! I found my first off campus apartment via Zillow, and the website helped make the rental application process super easy! 

The final option is to get a realtor or work with a specific real-estate company. This is a good option for people that want to use a reliable, certified resource to find a new place to live. However, this can limit some of your options, as these companies will only show you the properties they are licensed to display. You may miss out on your dream home, solely from lack of exposure. 

While the above options are all wonderful, apartment seekers, be warned: it can be easy to be swept up in the haze of dreamy apartments on websites, walks, and tours. In order to ensure that you aren’t talked into a less than ideal rental agreement, make a list of exactly what you want your building and home to have before you start looking. Do you want pets? What about laundry? Which location is most ideal for you, and where do you feel safest? Most importantly, what can you actually afford? 

By setting clear expectations for yourself (and your roommates, if you have any), you’ll be able to protect yourself from wasting money and time. No one wants to be swindled into living somewhere they don’t love! Most importantly, make sure you actually walk through a model apartment and/or the actual apartment you will be renting before signing that lease. Pictures may look great online, but you need to make sure that the dream is still alive in-person!

While off campus living may begin to be cheaper than on campus living, it can still be extremely expensive. To combat some of this, try renting a place with roommates! It’ll lessen the blow a bit. If you’d rather live alone, don’t fear, because there are still plenty of places that could fit your price range (it may just take a bit longer to find them).

Spring semester is beginning to reach its midway point, which means housing sign ups will be happening very soon. Take some time to consider all of your options—you never know what you might find. Happy apartment hunting!

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Amille is a senior at Boston University pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English. Her passions include travel, cooking, and creative writing; when she isn't testing new recipes and working on her first novel, she's spending time with pets and making memories with family.
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