As you enter another stage in your pursuit of higher education, you’ll soon face a crucial decision. Are you going to continue living on-campus in the school you’re enrolled in, or are you planning to live off-campus? If you’re choosing the latter, this article will serve as a guide for living away from your university.
There are many things you need to consider while transitioning to off-campus living. It might feel like it’s a daunting task to select the best apartment, adjust to a new environment, and meet new people, but they’re all part of this journey. As you become more independent in navigating through life, you’ll learn essential lessons along the way.
When everything becomes too overwhelming for you, stay calm and refer to the guide below:
Finding A Place To Stay
It can be exciting to think about living off-campus. Who wouldn’t get excited about gaining more freedom and having more opportunities to meet various people, right? Living in the neighborhood of your choice and finding an apartment that works for your lifestyle are two of the perks of living off-campus. Finally, you’ll be independent and will need to make decisions by yourself. However, before you find an apartment like Sunrise Village to rent out, you should consider the following factors:
- Set A Budget
The cost of living off-campus is either overestimated or underestimated by many college students. Setting up a budget is crucial in selecting a place to live. You should find out how much you can afford by keeping track of your total earnings. In addition to your earnings from your job, you may also factor in financial assistance from your parents or scholarship funds. And then, of course, you have to estimate your expected expenses. When considering living off-campus, you need to factor in the following costs:
- Rent Fee
A large part of your budget will be set aside for your rent. Can you allot a certain percentage of your income to paying for your apartment rent? However, you should also make sure to put aside part of your monthly budget for expenses other than your rental fees. Rent won’t be the only expense you have to worry about. Simply put, don’t stay in an apartment where you can’t afford to pay the monthly rental dues.
- Security Deposit
There may be a security deposit required in certain apartments. This will vary between each apartment depending on the living condition it provides, but it’s better to prepare money for this to avoid any possible challenges. You might have to pay a deposit equal to an entire month’s rent. Before signing any contract, ask the landlord about this so you can set aside an amount for security deposits.
- Monthly Utilities
The utility expense may be included in your monthly rent. On the flip side, there are also living arrangements where you’ll have to pay the utilities separately. Make sure you ask this question when you’re considering an apartment. If you’re interested in finding out how much you can expect to spend on utilities, you’ll have to do some research. Don’t forget to include them in your calculations. For example, you’ll need to use the internet, water, gas, electricity, and other essential utilities to live comfortably enough and focus on your studies.
For students who drive their own cars, this expense is another crucial consideration. Look for available parking spots in the apartment you’re thinking of renting or somewhere close to your place of residence. Don’t forget to clarify this when hunting for apartments. If you don’t have a car, ask around for the most convenient way to go around town. Ensure that the location comes with easy access to different modes of transportation.
The great thing about on-campus living is that residential quarters usually offer meal coupons. You won’t have to worry about cooking meals because these will already be provided daily. However, when you live alone, preparing meals becomes your responsibility. Therefore, it’s wise to look around your apartment’s neighborhood and check if there are nearby grocery and convenience stores. This is an important aspect to consider so you can buy food easily and save money.
- Evaluate The Features Of The Apartment You’re Considering
If you already have a budget in mind, you can now proceed to evaluate the features of the apartment you’re selecting. When you do, the rental fees aren’t the only important thing that plays a part in your decision-making process.
It’s essential to inspect the apartment in advance before signing any documents to ensure that everything functions as it should. Check the light and plumbing fixtures, as well as the water heaters and plumbing. If there are appliances, make sure they’re in good condition so you won’t be charged later if they’re actually broken. Also, be sure about the safety of your place before moving in. There’s nothing worse than moving into an apartment only to find out that it needs major repairs.
The following are a few other features of an apartment that you need to evaluate:
You can still find apartments with good amenities even if you’re on a budget. For instance, even as you stick with the budget that you set, you can still find apartments that come with air-conditioning. Your apartment might even include a pool or gym that you can enjoy during the weekends.
- Commute Time
As mentioned, it’s vital to consider the location of your apartment and check if there are accessible modes of public transportation. Compute how long it would take to travel to your school or workplace if you walk, ride a bike, or take the bus or train. When you know the travel duration and distance, you’ll be able to compute how much time you have to set aside for transportation expenses later. Your commuting time can significantly affect how you manage college and work efficiently.
It’s unnecessary to have the most prominent apartment to live in when you’re a student; you’ll probably be spending more time at school anyway. However, it’s vital that you have enough space for you to be comfortable where you live in. Also, make sure you aren’t paying too much for a smaller apartment. Be familiar with the average pricing of different apartments in various sizes.
- Contract Details
Be sure to read the fine print of any contract before you move into the apartment you’re considering. The rent amount, payment method, lease length, and any restrictions should be specified in your apartment lease. Preferably, it should also be renewable every year. Take note of all the terms and conditions and feel free to verify details if you’re not sure of it. Most importantly, try to follow the agreement on the contract, as disobeying them might lead to expulsion or expensive penalties.
Types Of Off-Campus Living
Off-campus living refers to staying in any living quarters outside the campus. You can categorize these into two types:
- Pre-Owned Property Accommodations
Your parents or relatives usually own the second home in which you stay. And if you’re not staying with a relative, the property might still be owned by someone you know. Like any other apartment arrangement, the landlord calls the shots. Residents are required to follow restrictions and may or may not pay a monthly fee, depending on their agreement with the property owner. Usually, there are only a few of this type of accommodation. If you do find one, you’re fortunate. Consider its advantages and disadvantages below:
You can enjoy almost all of the benefits of having your own home without having to pay rent every month. Many students find this to be beneficial since they already have a lot of other expenses to consider.
There might be a problem with the restrictions with pre-owned property for some students. The property owner sets all the rules, so it could either be too strict or lenient, depending on your luck or relationship with the landlord. And because this type of accommodation is rare, it’s usually only enjoyed by students who know people with properties close to universities.
- Independently Leased/Rented Accommodation
Students staying in these accommodations aren’t living in university-owned housing or in a family member’s property. In addition to students, visitors like tourists and other professionals also use these facilities. If you’re looking to rent off-campus accommodation, you could go for this option. Check out its perks and downsides below:
Students who stay in this type of accommodation benefit from the freedom they have. There won’t be formal restrictions from your university or parents, as third-party property owners are independently operating them. You can choose a studio apartment layout, change the decoration, invite friends over, and use all the facilities. A student will also better experience an independent lifestyle, where they must manage their own time and money.
As far as accommodations go, this is the most expensive option. You’ll be taking care of rental expenses, as well as utilities and essentials like food and transportation costs. The contract term for this kind of accommodation is usually locked for one year. While there may be periods when you don’t use the apartment or flat for several days, such as during the summer or holidays, you’re usually expected to pay for the entire 12 months.
There are more responsibilities associated with living off-campus, but you also have more freedom. Hopefully, the above guide has provided you with insights into the process of selecting a suitable apartment, crucial factors to consider, and different options for off-campus living.