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A Collegiette’s Guide to Apartment Hunting in Champaign-Urbana

If you’re tired of living in the dorms, guess what time it is?
 
 
It’s apartment hunting time! When searching for apartments there are many resources available to students at the University of Illinois. A few recommended resources are the Tenant union, review sites, Reddit or friends who currently rent. It’s always great hearing first hand from upperclassmen about their experiences of living in apartments and houses on campus. In this article I will give some advice from upperclassmen about apartment searches. 
 
Ways to Save Money: 
 
1. Try apartment hunting with smaller companies.
 
2. Look for apartment seasonal specials like no security deposit, no application fee, etc.
 
3. Get a roommate!
 
Things to Consider When Choosing an Apartment: 
 
1. Do you like quiet or do you want to be close to the party scene?
 
Urbana is said to be quiet, while Champaign is pretty rowdy
 
2. Is this location close to my job, classes, grocery stores, etc.? 
 
3. “Can you make it from the bar to your house safely?” asked UIUC student Nichelle Johnson.
 
If you’re worried about making it home from the bars, it’d probably be good for you to live on or near Green Street.
 
 
If you have a car:
 
1. You have more options and some places even have deals. 
 
2. You usually will have to pay for parking each month, but it may be cheaper than the amount you pay to park in U of I’s parking lots.
 
If you don’t have a car there’s always the beautiful CUMTD.
 
How to avoid obtaining a crappy roommate:
 
1. Look within your circle of friends and acquaintances first.
 
2. Meet your roommates one-on-one before deciding to live together.
 
3. If you go random and end up with the roommate from Hell, sublease!
 
Subleasing is when you are taking over someone else’s lease and apartment. Sometimes they might offer you a lesser amount because they really want to get rid of their apartment. It’s good to do this in the summertime, because it saves you money, paperwork, and sometimes even the hassle of finding a roommate. 
 
When you are budgeting, don’t forget to estimate the cost of utilities. According to Johnson, many apartments offer packaged deals, for example JSM has a utilities fee ranging from $24-$75 for sewer, trash, heat, air, Internet, etc. “Try to avoid the expensive cable packages.” You can get by with basic cable, Netflix, Hulu, or visiting your friends to watch Scandal for free at their place. Also, estimate the cost that you will be spending on food monthly. 
 
Once you know that you definitely want an apartment, be sure to save up for your security deposit. This deposit is usually the same amount as the first month’s rent. If you are a person whose parent will not be paying your rent, get this money ASAP! Apartments are a lot of responsibility. You are an actual adult paying rent and bills. Some people save their refund checks and if they amount to enough, use them to pay their rent. 
 
According to Johnson, Campus Property Management are “definitely the cheapest” apartments. They might not be as nice as the new apartments being built on Green St., but they won’t break your bank. Johnson also says that University group is also cheap, but “the quality of living is so disgusting.” JSM apartments are said to be more pricey, as well as Bankier and Ronald Realty. 
 
My last tip is from the Tenant Union’s website, “There is no grace period after signing a lease to change your mind.” Make sure you do not sign a lease before having someone look over it. It would greatly benefit you to take it to the Tenant Union because they are a great, FREE resource for you!
 
Happy apartment searching!
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