There are several advantages of college students living off-campus in their apartments.
However, if you have never gotten an apartment before and doing it for the first time as a student, the process might be daunting.
To get an apartment as a college student, you need to follow some steps.
This comprehensive guide is designed to answer all of the common questions you might have about getting an apartment as a college student.
Things to Consider When Getting an Apartment as a College Student
Before you take the leap of getting an apartment, you need to do plentiful research.
This includes researching your available options, what space to get, and more.
Here are some of the factors a college student must consider when they are thinking about getting an apartment:
Consider a Private Space Rather Than a Complex
If you apply to a complex rather than a private space, it will be pretty difficult for you to manage as a college student.
They are managed by a company with strict rules for people living in the complex. Moreover, they might not approve of your application either.
Not to mention, the management company of complexes has requirements that college students will struggle to meet.
For example, they might require you to earn at least three times more than the rent.
This is why you might have better luck renting from a private landlord than a company that owns a complex.
Private owners tend to be more understanding and flexible with college students.
They also don’t have minimum income requirements, credit checks, and requirements.
Also read: Do Landlords Call Previous Landlords?
Get Someone to Cosign the Lease
It is pretty common for college students not to qualify for an apartment. In that case, you can consider asking a friend or family member to act as a cosigner or guarantor.
They will then sign the lease for you. If you fall behind in your payments, your cosigner will be responsible for making them.
Since you are providing the landlords with this guarantee, they will be more likely to qualify you.
However, you must carefully consider this option. If you fall back on payments and make them, it could damage your relationship. It will also become a financial burden on both of you.
Pay More Upfront
If you are struggling to qualify for an apartment or get approved by the landlord, pay more upfront.
You can do this by putting in a large security deposit or paying multiple months’ rent at once.
If you can afford to do this, they will definitely approve your application. You can also pay more upfront by taking out a loan.
However, before doing this, ensure you have set a sound budget. Otherwise, you might fall short of paying for your tuition bills.
Get a Roommate
Many college students rent or lease an apartment to their name and then find a roommate.
This helps them split costs, and the monthly rent becomes much more affordable as well.
This way, you can also move into a home you could otherwise not have afforded on your own. All the costs and expenses will be split, which is an excellent option for college students.
To find a roommate, you can spread the word on campus. You could also go online and find someone looking for a space or roommate.
Sublet an Apartment
Subletting involves tenants renting out the property that they have leased to their name to other people.
This means you will make payments directly to the lessee and not to the landlord.
This is an excellent option for college students because such renters are much more flexible. They will also likely not have any income requirements.
How to Get an Apartment as a College Student
Now that you have worked out all of the above details follow these steps.
These will help you follow a path of finding an excellent space and obtaining a good deal.
Here’s what you need to do in order to obtain an apartment as a college student:
Get Proof of Income
Before you start looking for colleges, it is important to get proof of income first. This is the first thing landlords will be looking at, especially if you are a college student.
You have to show the landlord that you are able to afford the apartment.
If you apply to get an apartment with roommates, even they will have to show proof of income.
Moreover, if you plan to get someone to cosign for you, you will need to show their proof of income.
The landlord will likely get a financial background and credit checks on you.
Check Your College Requirements
Moreover, another thing you need to do before getting an apartment is actually checked your college requirements.
Some colleges tend to have on-campus living requirements.
They might require you to stay in dorms on campus at least for the first year or two of college.
Develop Your Budget
Now that you have gathered proof of income and checked your college requirements, it is time to develop your budget.
Before apartment hunting, create a budget of what you can afford.
Include all your income, including the student loans if you are taking out any. Also, add your monthly expenses and work out what you can afford to pay monthly.
Remember to create a realistic budget. Not being able to pay the rent can have serious consequences.
Find a Roommate
Once you have figured out the budget and financial details, it is time to look for a roommate.
Spread the word on campus and ask around online for anyone looking for an apartment.
Once you have found someone interested, you can go apartment hunting with them. You can also work out a budget together and figure out the monthly rent you both can afford.
Ask What’s Included in Your Rent
When you go apartment hunting, have a list of all the amenities and things you want in the apartment.
If you like an apartment, don’t forget to ask the landlord what is included in the rent.
Apartments for college students tend to come with internet packages and other amenities. Some of these can include fitness centers, swimming pools, cable, and water.
When you know everything included in your rent, you will also be able to narrow down your choices.
Tips for Choosing an Apartment as a College Student
As a college student, you might not know where to start in your apartment hunting.
Here are some factors that you need to consider when choosing an apartment off-campus:
Investigate Various Neighborhoods and Communities
Not only should the location of your apartment be close to college, but it should also be situated in the right neighborhood.
They should fit your lifestyle, and the apartment should be close to all the major bus routes and convenience stores.
When you are narrowing down your apartment options, visit the neighborhoods. Walk around to get a feel of the place and analyze your comfort level, noise level, parking, and traffic.
Moreover, you should also talk to some of the people living in the apartment.
This will help you get an idea of what living in this neighborhood would be like.
Consider Furnished Versus Unfurnished Apartments
Furnished apartments tend to be more convenient than unfurnished ones.
Moreover, considering the cost of furnishing, unfurnished apartments can be more expensive. The upfront cost of furnished apartments will, however, be more.
Choose the Right Lease for You
If you plan to stay in the same area after graduating, choose the appropriate lease.
Otherwise, you will need to find an apartment or landlord offering you a short-term lease.
This is why it is important that you spend as much time as you can researching leases. This way, you will also understand your rights as a resident of the apartment.
Don’t Be Too Hasty
If you like an apartment and it fits all your budget and requirements, don’t be too quick to sign the lease. Take your time to read the agreement and sign the lease thoroughly.
You cannot be too careful when getting an apartment as a college student. The more thorough you are, the fewer problems you will run into.
Create a Thorough Budget
We have already highlighted the importance of having a budget.
The more thorough and all-inclusive it is, the more helpful it will be when choosing an apartment.
Include your income, loans, expenses, and even an emergency fund. Don’t forget to include a security deposit, either. If you plan to get roommates, work the budget out together with them.
Communicate the budget thoroughly with your roommates to realistically decide what you can afford.
You can also use budgeting tools to create a more accurate budget.
The Bottom Line
While getting an apartment as a college student might seem daunting, it does not have to be. There are tons of excellent options for living spaces near colleges.
You simply need to sort out your finances and look for suitable spaces.
Spend plenty of time doing research on everything you need and apartment hunting. This will pay off in the longer term.
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