Tips for House-Hunting University Students

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If you have applied to a university far from home, you already know that you will have to begin searching for a new place to live for the duration of your studies. If your institution does not offer residential options, or if that is simply not for you, the hunt will be on for a new dwelling. With the following tips, your house-hunting will go smoother and ensure you pick the best possible option. Use your time wisely, because as soon as you receive your acceptance letter, the clock is ticking!

A practical and inexpensive way to live is with roommates. If you plan on living alone, feel free to skip this step. First, put out as many feelers as you can to try and gain connections in the city you are moving to. Do you know anyone else attending the same school or living in the same city? Ask them about their experience looking for housing, or even if they need a roommate. The more people you can live with, the less your rent will cost. Having housemates will also make any cleaning and chores easier (assuming every cooperates).

Once you have found the people you want to live with, find a local real estate or renting website and begin the search. Consider all the criteria you need your house to have. Do you want a single-unit building or an apartment? How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Which utilities do you want included? Will pets be allowed? It’s important to be as specific as you can in your searches. If you run out of options, you can expand your search later.

Arrange as many viewings as you can, even if you aren’t sold on the building based on the website listing. You never know how you’ll feel about the place until you get there. Ask the landlord(s) as many questions as you can, such as the safety of the neighborhood, structure of the building, proximity of city transit, etc. This will help you feel comfortable about your decision, but it will also give you an impression of the landlord. Are they trustworthy and reliable? Building a relationship with your landlord is vital, as it will help you out for those times where something goes wrong with the place, and you need to call someone ASAP.

Finally, put together a budget that includes your rent, utilities, and transit/commute costs. You may find the perfect interior and an amazing landlord, but if you are spending too much on gas or on transit tickets, it may negate the other benefits. When you’re in university, sometimes it’s out of the cards to ask for too much. Keep your standards high, but also be prepared to take what you can get. Best of luck with your acceptance and house hunting!

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