Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Parent's Guide to Apartment Hunting with Your College Student

For parents of new college students, back to school shopping doesn’t stop with school supplies. Part of the fun of preparing for college is finding an apartment that is affordable and works well for college life.

Shopping for an apartment for your college student is a lot different than shopping for a home for your family. If this is your first time apartment hunting with your college student, these question are ones to ask while hunting for that perfect college apartment.

1. Is the apartment centrally located? A college apartment should be close to essential services such as the school, laundromats, grocery stores, hair salons, and bus lines. While you could make the argument that living further away means cheaper rent, the money saved is usually gobbled up in additional fuel costs. Most college students discover that living close-in saves time, money, and a great deal of hassle.

2. Is the neighborhood sale? If you can’t get a straight answer from the landlord about crime trends for the area, check in with the local police department for area crime stats.

3. What security features does the apartment have? Don’t make the mistake of assuming that an apartment is intruder proof. As with your own house, a secure college apartment is one that has solid exterior doors, locking windows, adequate outside lighting, peepholes in the doors, and keyed dead bolts.

4. Is off street parking available? Many college apartments have minimal on-site parking which creates parking shortages during the school year. If your student has a car, then you don’t want an apartment that can’t provide onsite parking.

5. What services & appliances are included in the rent? What are average utility costs? Never make the mistake of comparing just the rental rates when apartment shopping. Utilities and other services should also factor into the total cost since cheap rent could mean hefty utility costs or no appliances.

6. Are roommates, subletting, or overnight guests allowed? When it comes to college housing, these are important issues to discuss with a landlord in case a roommate has to move out unexpectedly.

7. How available is the landlord? This is something that I would have never thought of myself to ask, though the parents of my college renters certainly do. Most parents prefer apartments where help is just a whistle away in case of a burst pipe or some other maintenance emergency.

8. What are the house rules or quiet hours? Not all college apartments come with house rules which addresses thing like quiet hours, loud parties, barking dogs, or criminal activity. Designated quiet hours means the apartment complex doesn’t permit loud, late night noise to interrupt sleep and study time.

Apartment hunting really is an exciting time for college students and parents, and a great way to learn your way around the campus area. Remembering to ask these eight important questions will help your college student find an apartment that will fit in her budget, while providing a safe and orderly place to live off campus.

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