One can equate the college apartment search to studying for final exams upon semester’s end: it’s a grueling process that often causes mental, physical and emotional distress when all you want to do is crawl in bed in the comfort of your own home.
My quest for finding an apartment off campus consisted of a sleepless night camped out in parking lot full of roughly two hundred distressed and aggravated college juniors literally fighting over a spot in one of ten highly-desirable apartment buildings among University City, Missouri, just blocks from the campus of Washington University in St. Louis.
Leasing opportunities for these students “beckoned” as the landlord called prospective tenants just twelve hours prior to the leases becoming available for the ensuing summer. Having to feverishly scrounge around for security deposits of upwards of $500 with hardly any notice, students gathered their finances from the bank and headed to the parking lot to meet competing tenants with reckless abandon for a night of disorganization and exhaustion. Regulated only by a loose-leaf paper list posted on the door of the realty company’s office, students began to panic upon thinking they wouldn’t be able to live with their friends nor inhabit a quality apartment in their desired location due an extremely disorganized and unjust process. Amidst the brouhaha, some shed tears while others jeopardized friendships. Needless to say, the proprietor of these apartment complexes faced significant opposition not only during the apartment leasing process, but also throughout his tenure as these dissatisfied students’ landlord.
Fortunately, I was one of the lucky ones that night to sign a lease with my closest friends in essentially the exact location we desired to live. However, I was completely out of it the next day since I hadn’t slept, and the sheer bitterness and hostility that emanated throughout the parking lot caused me to skip a few classes and recover. Furthermore, it’s safe to say that my friends and I learned some very valuable lessons when finding an apartment off-campus. I completely relied on word-of-mouth reputation when searching for an apartment rather than consulting an online resource to view multiple apartments that may have better suited my needs in terms of price, location, amenities, customer service and convenience.
More importantly, searching for student apartments near campus online as opposed to strictly in-person enables students to find a new home on their own time and on demand. Clearly, my friends and I would have preferred browsing for apartments on the web in our pajamas as opposed to pitching tents in a suburban St. Louis parking lot amidst tension and unfriendliness.
It is with these issues in mind that we created MovingOffCampus.com. Check out the site and please let us know if there is anything you think we can do to make apartment searching easier and far less stressful.