College is one of life’s most major transitions. It is a change for students, and it is a change for parents and families. One of the biggest parts of transitioning into college has to do with moving into a dorm or moving to a student’s very first apartment. While dorm living is a great option for most freshmen who are first learning to live on their own, many upperclassmen and their families decide that moving off-campus is a better choice.
The move to a student rental, however, brings many growth opportunities as well as challenges. While moving off campus can often mean great savings and more flexibility, students and their parents need to be careful about the housing they choose. Experts recommend the following checklist when you are making a walk-through of student rentals:
- Air Conditioning/Heating. Do all temperature control systems work properly?
- Appliances. Are the appliances up to date or will you be battling with old equipment?
- Carpeting/Floors. Is the current flooring clean? Try a walk through without your shoes, wearing a white pair of socks, as one way to test.
- Closet and cabinet sizes. Will you have enough storage space for clothing and kitchen materials?
- Faucets. Are they currently leaky or rusty?
- Front landscape and Entryway. Are these areas well-maintained? This gives you an idea of what the landlord and/or neighbors are like.
- Landlord. What are your initial impressions? Does he or she seem trustworthy? What about the landlord’s relationship with the neighbors ?- does it seem positive?
- Lighting. Is there a significant amount of natural light? Lack of natural light can lead to very expensive electrical bills. How is the lighting outside on the street and by entrances?
- Locks. Does every lock work properly? Do you also have a deadbolt? Would you feel safe being alone at night?
- Neighbors. Do they seem friendly, courteous, and trustworthy?
- Outlets. Check the location and number. Also, check to see if all of the outlets work.
- Shower water pressure. If the student housing has two showers, do you have great water pressure when both showers are on?
- Tile and grout. Is the bathroom and kitchen tile and grout well-kept, or is it broken and dirty?
- Toilets. Are they functioning properly and do they shut off in a reasonable amount of time after flushing?
- Walls for marks, holes, scratches, or patches. If the walls are well taken care of it reflects positively on the landlord. Check for water damage and mold when you are finding an apartment. Mold can cause health problems, and costly repairs.
- Windows. Are they old or drafty? do they open and close properly?
In addition to investigating deposit and rent prices, students should always plan financially for extra costs associated with student rentals. Looking for apartments for college students takes time. It is important that you make sure you see the property for yourself, instead of just taking someone else’s word before making a decision about student rentals. Many college students in America enjoy the privacy that off-campus housing provides. It is often more cost effective than living in the dorms. It is important, however, that renters and their parents do research before signing a lease.