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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Ohio U chapter.

Signing your first college lease is a significant milestone in a student’s life. It marks the transition from living in a dormitory or with parents to off-campus living: a newfound sense of independence and responsibilities. I recently set out on this adventure and have witnessed the realities of being a college student signing a lease.

The Hunt Begins

The journey begins with the hunt for the perfect apartment or house. Search online listings, visit potential rentals, and seek advice from experienced friends or family members. Ohio University offers a wide range of rental companies (listed below). Discovering your new home can be exhilarating but stressful- so start EARLY!

Budgeting & Financial Responsibility

One, if not the most important, lesson learned when signing a lease is the importance of budgeting and financial responsibility. When reviewing your lease, you must consider the monthly rent and utilities, groceries, transportation, parking, and other living expenses. I highly recommend using a financial spreadsheet to track your spending.

Roommate Dynamics

Most of the time, you will sign a lease with several roommates. If you are having difficulties finding a roommate, check out Ohio University’s Facebook communities. They are a great place to find students who are experiencing the same challenge. Although living with roommates is exciting, expect a few bumps in the road. Living with several roommates teaches valuable communication and conflict-resolution skills.

Understanding the Lease Agreement

The lease is a crucial determining factor when finding your new home. Reading and understanding the lease can be daunting, but it is necessary. You’ll read about security deposits, rent due dates, maintenance responsibilities, and other vital details. Printing out and highlighting where you have personal concerns or questions to address to your landlord is a great idea to get clarification.

Furnishing and Decorating

My favorite part of living off-campus was turning my house into a home. Don’t be afraid to share the responsibility with your roommates. My roommates and I created a spreadsheet to share what we planned on buying and bringing before moving in. The downside is furnishing a home is expensive. I had to embark on a mission to find affordable furniture, kitchen essentials, and decorations to reflect my style. I found a majority of my furniture and decorations at several of Ohio University’s thrift stores (listed below).

Signing a lease for the first time as a college student is a transformative experience. It navigates the complexities of adulthood, budgeting, roommate dynamics, and understanding legal agreements. It throws challenges in your face but also offers a relieving sense of independence, personal growth, and the opportunity to create a unique living space. So, embrace the excitement and nervousness.

Ohio University Rental Companies

  • Athens Ohio Rentals
  • Wharton Rentals
  • Krause Rental Properties
  • University Rentals
  • Kleinpenny Rentals
  • Best of Athens Rentals
  • Sabel Rentals
  • HousingHotLink
  • Cornwell Properties
  • Bobcat Rentals
  • Capstone Property Management
  • Coady Rentals
  • LTD Properties
  • Prokos Rentals
  • ATown University Rentals
  • River Gate Apartments
  • The Summit at Coates Run

Furnishing Your Home

  • New-To-You Thrift Shoppe
  • Athens Goodwill
  • Athens Underground
  • UpCycle Ohio Thrift Store
  • Random House
Gigi Redinger is a currently a Junior at Ohio University majoring in Journalism-Strategic Communication, minoring in Marketing, and pursuing a certificate in Social Media. Gigi is the Social Media Director of HCOU, a member of Ohio University's PRSSA, and member of Kappa Alpha Zeta (KAZ). Gigi is determined to provide honest reporting, create engaging material, and share her tips and tricks as a female college student.