Here's a great guest blog post from Sarah Schupp of UniversityParent.com!
As the end of the semester approaches, your student’s finals loom, summer jobs stand in wait and leases end. While finding off-campus housing is another step of independence that your student needs to make, it can be an intimidating process. You can help guide your student without getting too involved.
Consider these five tips to help your student find and secure off-campus housing:
1. Talk to upperclassmen. Encourage your student to talk to other students who already live off-campus. Get a feel for safety, price ranges, convenience and popularity of different neighborhoods. Check bulletin boards and online forums for places to rent, as well as potential roommates if your student needs roommates.
2. Plan ahead. Don’t start looking for a place to live two weeks before your student moves out of the dorm or has a lease end. Start looking for off-campus housing two months before your student will need to move in.
3. Research. Help your student identify what he needs in housing, and then guide him to research online or by calling apartment superintendents and owners of rooms for rent. Consider the following:
- What monthly rent can your student afford? Does that include utilities?
- What payments would your student need to make upon signing the lease? A deposit, first and last month’s rent? What is required at the end of the lease to get the deposit back?
- How long does he plan to live there? Does he need a 6-month lease or will a 2-year lease work?
- Does he have bedroom furniture or is a furnished place necessary? What amenities are must-haves, i.e. dishwasher, washing machine or dryer?
- If your student will have roommates, are they trustworthy? What liability will your student have if his roommates skip out on rent?
- Is there a location on campus or a job that your student would prefer to be near?
- If your student has a car, is there ample parking, as well as a well- lit parking lot or streets?
4. Be thorough. Once your student has a narrowed-down list of housing opportunities that will meet his needs, encourage him to walk through each place with his roommates. At this point, if they agree on the location and lease requirements and can decide where each will room, it might be time to make a move.
5. Be aggressive. Good living arrangements are in high demand. When your student has found the right apartment or house to rent, encourage him to be available to sign a lease and pay a deposit as soon as possible.
About University Parent Media: University Parent Media, based in Boulder, Colo., produces print and online guides for college parents in partnership with over 200 universities and colleges in 34 states. Visit www.universityparent.com. Follow on Twitter @4collegeparents and join Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/collegeparents.