Your College Apartment Checklist
Thankfully, dorm housing doesn’t last forever. Soon (or now) you’ll be looking for an off-campus apartment, either for the academic year, your summer internship, or for both. Fortunately, I have you covered with what you’re looking for in an apartment.
1. People You Know
The first and most important part of your housing is living with people that you know and like. I personally am living off campus in a three story house full of eleven other friends. It’s fairly far from campus, it’s decrepit, dirty, and otherwise not the best housing. That said, this is much better than the much better and better situated house I had last year. Why? People.
You want people you know and like so you can create a home for yourself. You need people you can go out with, people you can hang out with at home, someone who’ll be able to give you a second opinion on if you should get back together with Hannah, and someone else who wants to order pizza on a Friday. Like-minded people can enhance your house along the lines of what you imagine in your college house, and it helps prevent conflicts. Strangers might be great, or they might be terrible- why gamble? Take the sure thing with your house, and make it as good as you can.
The golden rule of real estate is that location matters over all. That’s true, and especially true in cold climates, where traveling can be especially annoying for two-thirds of the school-year. Don’t over-estimate your ambition here; it’s an easy trap to fall in, to assume that you don’t mind walking, but the second you get cozy…it’s a trap. The more centrally located you are to fun stuff, the better, but if you’re far away from everything, you especially need to live with friends.
3. The Boring Stuff
Make sure your landlord isn’t a weirdo, and make sure the water pressure is good in the shower. First thing, do that. It’s one of those little things that will never get fixed and will bug you every day. Similarly, check the oven and stove and all the other classic “adult” things before signing on to a house. Open cabinets to make sure there’s nothing gross. Ask questions about the landlord’s timeliness to fix things. Even if you don’t know what you’re talking about, bluffing your way through it will put your landlord in check for making sure everything works fine.
4. Weigh Perks
A sink with a garbage disposal in it is super clutch- but what about a washer/dryer in the basement? Will the free laundry be worth the extra $50 in rent? Probably not; but almost, right? A house with a porch is much more useful in a warm climate, and a tiny backyard might be worthless, but if you’re a smoker in a non-smoking house, it might be worth a fortune to you. Is living by party-houses worth it for convenience or not because of noise? Every person is different, just like every house, so make a list of each places’ pros and cons with your friends before you decide. And please live with your friends. It’s a lot better than randos.