As a student, the moment when you move out of the dorm and into your own apartment is a momentous occasion. However, in the midst of your excitement and enthusiasm to get your own place, it can be easy to make mistakes which you can pay for later.
In this article, we look at some of the most common mistakes students make when looking for an apartment, and how you can avoid them.
1) Spending Too Much On Rent
In their enthusiasm to get out of the dorm and enjoy the independence of having their own apartment, many students end up taking an apartment where the rent is much too high. This could be down to being unfamiliar with the real estate market and agents taking advantage of this, or impetus to make a quick decision meaning rushing into something which is not a good deal.
To avoid spending too much on rent, be sure to do thorough market research. What are average rent prices in your area, and how much should you get for your money? Also, look around to see if there are alternatives which may save you significantly on rent. For example, look at the neighbouring suburbs: sometimes moving just one suburb further away from campus can mean significant savings on rent.
2) Choosing An Apartment Without Seeing It First
Another trap which is easy to fall into, especially if you are a student looking for your first apartment, is to agree to rent an apartment without seeing it first. Sometimes agents may try to put you under pressure, saying that you may miss out if you don’t sign immediately. However, it is critical to see the apartment in person to make sure it really is as described and make sure there are no nasty surprises. It is better to risk losing out on an apartment, than being stuck with something you don’t want to live in.
This is a particular risk if you are looking for an apartment internationally, for example if you are studying overseas. Whether you are looking for a studio to rent in Dubai, or renting a room in a student in Paris try to avoid confirming any rental arrangements before you arrive in country. Usually, you will have time to look at apartments after you arrive, to make sure you get the best option rather then rushing in to make the wrong decision because you are trying to arrange things in advance.
3) Choosing The Wrong Area
Location shouldn’t be underestimated when it comes to choosing your first apartment. It can be easy to make a decision on location based on the wrong factors: things like where your friends live, where the bars and the trendiest or most fashionable area. However, location can greatly affect price when it comes to apartment rental, so be sure to check different areas and compare prices. You may be able to get a much nicer apartment on your budget if you are willing to be open to different locations. Also, don’t forget that as a student you should be prioritising your studies: make sure your apartment is either close to campus or on good public transport routes. This will make a big difference when it comes to finals time!
4) Not Having a Roommate (Or Choosing The Wrong One)
It is understandable that when you move out into your first apartment you may want to live alone. However, shouldering the burden of rent by yourself can be an unwise decision, especially at first. Having a roommate to share the cost of rent, as well as things like electricity and internet can make a huge difference to your budget. You can always move out on your own later when you are in a more financially stable position.
Also, make sure you make the right decision when choosing your roommate. Moving in with a friend can seem like a great idea, but this is often a recipe for disaster. It is usually smarter to advertise for a roommate, who you will feel more comfortable setting boundaries with and establishing a healthy living situation. And if things do go awry, you haven’t ruined a friendship!
5) Choosing The Fanciest Apartment
It can be easy to get caught up in how your apartment looks or want to have an apartment that looks a certain way or has fancy facilities and amenities. Yes, it is exciting to get your first apartment and it’s natural that you dream of it looking a certain way. However, it’s important to remember that it is your first apartment and you may need to start with something basic and work your way up to a fancier apartment later! It is also important to remember that other aspects are more important: for example that everything works properly and is well maintained. Look past the apartment’s looks, and be sure to focus on these kinds of thing.
6) Not Checking The Terms And Conditions On The Lease
When you rent your first apartment, you are not familiar with what a lease should look like. This is when you may get trapped into signing something with unfavorable terms and conditions. Make sure you check all the fine print on your lease contract and if there is something which you don’t understand or that seems unusual, seek advice from friends or family members who have rented before.
7) Paying For Amenities You Don’t Need
When searching for your first apartment, you may be dazzled by fantastic amenities: some apartment buildings come with cool features like a private gym or a roof deck. These things may be attractive, but do you really need them? Also consider how much extra you will pay to live in a building which has these kinds of amenities, and what you could put this money towards (such as a gym membership) on a monthly basis.