College- what’s not to love? Friends, school, drinking, all the fixings. But wait, we’ve left out a major ingredient: no parents! That’s right, going to college means you’re on your own for living arrangements. If you’re lucky, you haven’t been kicked out of the house by now! Most college students typically start looking to rent houses and apartments in their sophomore year of college (freshmen are often trapped in the dorms). There are a lot of things to consider when finding your new home, and location is one of the major decisions you have to make.
Living on campus vs. off campus might not initially seem like a big deal, but it kind of is. Living on campus definitely has its benefits, as it’s (obviously) on campus and centrally located. Living off campus provides a more independent-style of living, as it’s more isolated from campus life. Decisions, decisions. You decided you want to live off campus? What a coincidence- this post is about just that!
What to Look For When Moving Off Campus
So what classifies as living off campus? I’m actually not sure, but if your house or apartment is like 5 miles off campus, I think that’s a safe distance.
If you decide to live off campus, make sure you are a reasonable distance away from your university. Take into account travel arrangements, travel costs (if applicable), and attractions/entertainment in the area. Getting to and from campus can be difficult with bus schedules and/or parking costs, so be sure to examine all possibilities before signing the lease.
This might not seem like a big deal-breaker for searching criteria, but it can be. When browsing homes and apartments, look over which utilities are included in the rent and which are not. Typical utilities are: water, gas, electric, cable, and internet. Utility costs can add up quickly, so if it’s not clear initially, clarify with the landlord.
When it comes to houses and apartments being furnished, it’s about 50-50, maybe apartments having the slight edge. A furnished apartment will generally provide a bed, dresser, sofa(s), and chairs; but furnishings vary. Finding a furnished home is a hidden gem in making decisions for where to live, but can come with an extra cost. If the place you’re considering isn’t furnished, should you rent or buy furniture? There are services strictly dedicated to renting out furniture, and is most convenient to college students. Buying and moving furniture can be expensive and time-consuming. Make your move easy!
When it comes to welcoming furry friends, a lot of on campus apartments and houses do not allow pets. As for off campus living, landlords tend to ease up a bit. Why this is, I have no idea, but it’s another factor in deciding where to live. Be cautious, though- most pet friendly homes require a hefty pet deposit, as well as either one-time or monthly fees per pet. Also, pet friendly homes can have restrictions limiting certain types of breeds, number of pets, and weight limit.
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