This one’s for the upperclassmen. It’s time to find yourselves a house or apartment! If you’re freaking out over finding a place, don’t worry, you’re not alone. We all get how stressing, frustrating and complicated getting your first place can be. We’ve all been there. So in hopes that we can ease the process, here are a few tips:
You won’t be homeless if you haven’t started looking before November.
Many students worry about not being able to find a home if they haven’t started looking yet. Don’t sweat it, there are plenty of places around campus to look into and Marquette has plenty of resources to help you out.
That said, things will get harder the longer you wait.
There is a reason why many people start looking for places so early: They want to secure the most popular options. Apartments and multi-bedroom houses that are closer to campus and have other popular features tend to go quickly. While there will be options, your top choices may not be available the longer you wait.
Things don’t stop after signing the lease.
Signing and paying the deposit is just the first step. After this, consider how rent and bills are going to be split, how the place is going to be furnished, whether there are any additional fees that you’re going to have to pay and whether the landlord will change the policy. Stay on top of these things, they keep popping up even after you’ve moved in.
Check out at least three places.
Sure, the first place you tour may be the apartment of your dreams, but there could be even better places. It’s never a bad idea to compare several places and keep your options open. You might find a better place on a later tour, or realize that the first apartment really was the best. You don’t want to regret not living somewhere else because you didn’t check it out.
Triple check and consider everything!
Are utilities included? What will you be responsible for? Does everything work? Are people who are living there now happy with the place, or are they dying to get out? Make sure you can afford the rent and added bills. Check and check again, you might be happy you did.
You’re in college, you don’t need everything.
Do you really need your own room or granite kitchen tops? Some might consider it a necessity, but remember that college isn’t cheap and you’re most likely on a budget. Save yourself some cash and ditch the premium cable package and fireplace. You can live without it.
Nail your landlord with questions.
When in doubt, ask it out. Believe it or not, landlords like when they get asked questions. It reassures them that you’re serious about the place and that you’re good potential tenants. It’s also their job to know everything and answer questions, so ask.
Talk with your roommates.
Communicate to your roommates and establish some common ground. What do they want out of the apartment? Is it the same things you want? The best thing to do is just grab all your roommates, grab some dinner, and discuss the matter. No assumptions, they never end well.
Read your lease.
Seriously, read it. Don’t assume the landlord told you everything you needed to know. Sit down (preferably with your roommates) and go through it. If there’s anything rubbing you the wrong way, then consider possible alternatives.
Ask yourself these four questions:
- Are you happy with where you’re going to be living?
- Are you happy with the people you’ll be living with?
- Are you content paying what you will be for your new place?
- Are you fully satisfied with the efforts of your search?
Lastly, keep you parents involved.
They’ve been through this, probably multiple times. Out of anybody, they know what’s good or not and can help you answer those tough questions. Plus, they might even offer to help out with some of the expenses so be nice, give them a call.
Don’t know where to start? Check out this website, it has it all including more tips, answers to common questions, and places that are still up for rent. Good luck and hope you can find a sweet home!
— Cesar Gomez