We know what some of you are thinking: “The school year just started, and now I’m expected to sign next year’s lease already?!” If you’re a sophomore on campus, it’s time to realize that your safety net of living in a dorm won’t be there next year and you actually have to hunt for a place to live. This process can be very stressful, but never fear! We’ve laid out some tips for you.
Step One: Who do you want to live with?
There are way more options in apartment hunting than there were when picking a dorm, so you could end up in a studio or a house with many girls! If you wish, you can live by yourself in a studio or one-bedroom apartment. Other girls opt for a two- or three- bedroom apartment that they share with their friends. If you are part of a sorority, you also have the option of living in your chapter’s house for your junior or senior year. Whichever you choose, make sure you know what you’re getting into. Living alone may be peaceful, but it could also get lonely. Living with a lot of other girls could be a lot of fun, but may get stressful when you have to study or prefer quiet.
It’s always a debate if you should live with your best friends or not. There are always horror stories of inseparable friends despising each other after living together for a year. However, there are tales of friendships growing even closer after sharing the same living space. When making this choice, remember that living with other people always brings a few burdens, whether it be an occasional argument over taking the trash out or borrowing clothes.
Step Two: Prioritize!
You and your new roommates must figure out what each of you find important in a prospective apartment. A common one is location. Some people prefer to find apartments close to campus so they can easily walk there in any sort of weather. It is also a good idea to check out the neighborhood the apartment may be in so you can feel safe. Others prioritize utilities. Many apartments come with several utilities, such as water and gas, included in the rent. Otherwise, you will have to pay for them separately, which could get confusing. Remember that most apartments will not include electric, so plan for it when calculating the total cost of your rent. Speaking of, the cost of monthly rent often appears as high priority for apartment-hunters. Around Marquette, apartment rent can range from $350 to $1000! Make sure you talk over with your roommates how much you are willing to pay.
Step Three: Tour, Tour, Tour!
Don’t sign for a lease before you know what you’re getting into! Compile a list of apartments you like and contact the realtors. Set up an appointment to go see the apartment with your roommates. Not only will you get to see the layout, you can ask any questions you have about the apartment, expenses, utilities and whatever else you need to know. University-owned apartments may not be available for tours, but you can call the Office of Residence Life for any questions. Floor plans and basic descriptions are usually online.
Sometimes knowing the apartment isn’t enough. It may be helpful to look up reviews of the realtors as well. You are giving them your rent money! Make sure that previous tenants were satisfied with their living experiences. Finding out about unpleasant parts of the apartment is something you want to do before you move in, not three months into the lease!
Step Four: Sign the Lease!
Now comes the best part: securing your spot as an apartment tenant for next school year! Not only is this feeling very relieving, it can be a little scary. It’s quite the step towards adulthood, especially knowing that you will have to completely maintain your living space yourself. Don’t worry about all those independent responsibilities just yet, though! Enjoy the rest of this school year! It’s just getting started.