As a college student, you may get to the point where just having a dorm room isn't enough for you. You want to have a private bathroom, kitchen, and area to hang out in that isn't shared with the other thirty people on your floor or the other two hundred people in your building. When you reach that point, you will want to look for student rental properties that are close to your college and that allow you to live in a house or apartment instead of in a dorm.
Figure Out Your Budget
Before looking for homes for rent, you need to know what you can spend on housing. When considering what you can spend on housing, be sure to factors in what basic utilities will cost, such as electricity, gas, and water. You also need to factor in extras such as cable, internet, and your cell phone bill. You also need to consider what your transportation costs will be with any housing that you look at.
Will you be able to walk to campus? Will you need to purchase a parking pass? Will you need to pay for public transportation?
As a college student, you may be relying on scholarships, savings, and grants to pay your living expense, so you need to think carefully about what you can afford and how that will impact the housing you are looking at.
For example, a rental property within walking distance of the college may cost a little more. Still, you may also not have any transportation costs, making it more affordable than a further off-campus apartment for less.
Carefully Check the Lease
When you find a property you are interested in, you need to check the lease carefully. Find out what you have to pay up-front. Often, you will need to put down a security deposit and pay first and last month's rent upfront. You will want to review the conditions for getting your full security deposit back and ensure that they are fair and reasonable. You will want to find out what you are responsible for taking care of and ensure that you are up for the task. For example, if you don't have a lawnmower or time to take care of the yard, a rental that requires you to maintain the yard may not be the best choice for you. Think about what your student life will allow you to take on.
Always Look at the Rental in Person
When looking for a rental property, you may be looking when you are not near campus. However, you should always make the drive from wherever you are to check out the property in person before signing a lease agreement. There is only so much you can learn from pictures.
For example, just looking at pictures will not tell you that the student housing is located next to an active rail line and that you will have to hear the trains run by every hour. Look at the place in person, and be sure that it meets your expectations.
When renting student housing, carefully examine your budget to figure out what you can afford. Be sure to look at the entire budget picture, including rent, utilities, and transportation. Carefully review the lease, and be sure you can take on any tenant responsibilities expected of you. Always look at the rental in person.