Most college students have the joy of living in a dorm for at least one year during their college careers. Some are lucky enough to escape those small cells come their second year, but are then tasked with finding an off-campus apartment. The freedom to truly live on your own, to have a real space for yourself, and to style your own new “home” is alluring. However, before the DIY Pinterest decor can start, you have to find the best off-campus apartment for you. This can be a daunting undertaking, but also an incredibly fun and exciting one. Keep reading for tips on how to pick the best off campus housing at UF!
1. Before establishing a budget, consider what is included in your rent.
AKA: Ditch the dorm style laundry rooms. When establishing your budget, don’t forget to consider what is included in the rent. Sometimes there may be a cap on utilities or they may be unlimited. My roommate, for example, is terrible about turning the lights off so having unlimited utilities saves us that headache. If you have a car or scooter, check to see if parking spaces are included or if that will be an extra payment. Having a washer and dryer included in your apartment is a bigger blessing than you might imagine. We’ve all experienced the horrors of doing laundry in a dorm, fighting for the machines, making sure you’re right on time so no one removes your clothes, it’s a nightmare. Maybe you’ll even start doing your laundry more!
2. Before you can begin the hours of research, you must set out a realistic budget.
It’s all about that money, money, money. Keep in mind what is included in the rent; if utilities are not included then you have to factor that into your budget. Looking at the luxury apartments that may be out of your price range is a classic case of self-sabotage. By giving yourself a range you can see the best and the most realistic options for yourself.
3. Tour the apartment in person.
Tour it Gordon Ramsay style. Touring the apartments you’re looking at online is so important because the pictures on their website, of course, only show off the best of the best. You’ll be able to see the area, the rooms, the amenities, and get an overall feel for the place once you tour it. Have a list of questions prepared and go along with other people, like future roommates, friends, or family. This helps to have another set of eyes scanning the place and asking questions you might have forgotten. Plus, let’s be real, we still need our parents to help us make these decisions.
4. Take the location into consideration.
Choose the right ‘hood’. The right neighborhood is just almost as important as having the right apartment. Because it’s a college apartment, you want to make sure it’s safe and close to campus, transportation, restaurants, and grocery stores.
5. Ideally, look for a place that is already furnished or at least partially furnished.
Try and save yourself that trip to IKEA. You will most likely move every year in college to different apartments, town homes, and even houses; therefore, it’s best to have it come furnished so you don’t have to move that much furniture each time. Plus, we’re college students and we all know we’re not taking care of things like we should. Don’t invest in furniture that you’ll have to be stuck with when it comes time for your “grownup” place after college. Having a pool, gym, computer lab, study area, tanning, etc. can be convenient and nice to have. I’m sure all your friends wouldn’t mind a little tanning and “studying” by the pool with a furnished place.
6. Get all your questions out of the way as soon as possible.
If you’re committing to living in this place, then you better know all about it and get all of your questions out of the way. There are people ready and willing to answer your hundreds of questions, so go ahead and ask!