That time of year has come around—it’s time to reserve your fall living situation. This will be my fourth time moving in as many years, and through hardship, annoyances, and difficultly learned lessons, I have become something of an expert at finding new places to live. Here is a simple guide to make finding your next home less stressful.
1. Determine Your Priorities
Every person has different needs in a living situation. For me, I don’t mind a long commute to campus; but I cannot, under any circumstances, live in a loud environment. Quiet and tranquility (along with price) are my highest priorities. As such, this limits my living arrangement options—this is both a good and a bad thing. It’s good because I can narrow down where I want to live (areas around frats are out of the question), but bad because it gives me less options to choose from. You must figure out what is important to you, and use that structure when finding places you want to live.
2. Research Your Landlords
Utilize websites like Yelp and Google reviews to determine if your future property manager is responsible or god-awful. For instance, there must be a reason Von Klein Property Management has 17 reviews on Google, every single one of which is 1 star. But you don’t have to stop at the internet.
When I was living in my sophomore quarters, the landlord showed my place while I was there. The entire time, I was astounded that the groups to whom the place was being shown did not once ask us, the current tenants, about the rental. Talk to people who live there! You will never get a more honest opinion. And people LOVE to talk about their homes.
3. Read the Fine Print
READ. THE. LEASE. The whole lease. Every last word. Because you might end up being screwed, and you would have been warned if you had just read that last, 8 point clause. Ask questions about everything. What does “common area” imply? Who do I call for noise complaints? What’s the emergency number?
And make copies of EVERYTHING. Your lease, your checks. Write down who you talked with on the phone that promised that August rent would be half off. Keep documents, because they might be the only thing between you and a miserable year.
4. Talk to Friends
Your friends have great and awful living experiences—ask them for advice. Oh, you love where you live? How do I apply? Oh, your landlord never came to fix your dryer? I’ll be sure to avoid him.
5. Start Early
Don’t wait until the last minute to begin looking for and applying for fall apartments or houses. You’ll end up with the dregs. Find a place that you love now, and cut your stressing short. You’ll be thankful come September.