25Mar
By: Guest On: March 25, 2009 In: Living in the US, Off-Campus Housing Comments: 0

Renting in the USA can be overwhelming, especially for college students on a budget.

Don’t worry!

Getting an apartment off campus is possible, but there are some things you should know before you prepare to live off-campus.

Feeling daunted by the thought of renting in the USA? We can help you get your apartment hunt started.

Apartment Options

There are a number of apartments ideal for students renting in the USA. Some basic apartments popular with students include:

  • Two-plus Bedroom Apartment – If you want to save money, getting a larger place with roommates and splitting the cost of rent may be your cheapest option. A multi-bedroom apartment will have two-plus closed-off bedrooms, as well as a kitchen, one or more bathrooms and, usually, a common area or living room.
  • One-Bedroom – If you would rather live alone, a one-bedroom may be for you. Like a two-plus bedroom apartment, a one-bedroom should have a closed room for sleeping, plus a kitchen and bathroom. Some apartments may also include a separate living room.
  • Efficiency/Studio – A studio apartment, sometimes referred to as an efficiency, is a cheaper option for living without roommates. The difference? A studio apartment is usually smaller and does not have a closed bedroom – everything is included in one single unit.

Apartment Money Matters

When trying to decide what type of apartment you want, the monthly price is bound to be an issue. Figure out what you can afford and stick to your budget. Don’t get carried away and sign up for something you can’t afford because it’s your “dream apartment”!

If you keep looking, you should be able to find something that makes you happy and is in your price range — though beware that large cities are going to expensive. Consider a  part-time job to help cover the cost!

Resources for Renting in the USA

Some great places to look for an apartment would be:

  • Classified ads in local papers
  • Online listings
  • Student newspapers
  • Bulletin boards on campus
  • Forum for apartment listings on the school website.

Ask for Help

If you are attending a larger college or university located in a metropolitan area, there is a good chance that your school provides off-campus housing help for students renting in the USA.

These student services should be able to provide you with resources to consult when renting in the USA. They also can suggest student-friendly neighborhoods and tell you what areas of town should be avoided. Ask about off-campus housing help before or during your freshman orientation.

Always Read the Lease

When renting in the USA, always be sure to read the lease thoroughly before you sign! Your rental agreement comes in the form of a “lease” contract, which includes:

  • Monthly rent and other fees to be paid to the landlord by you
  • Your responsibilities and rights as the renter
  • The landlord’s responsibilities and rights
  • What is and is not included in the monthly fees for the apartment: are utilities (expenses like hot water and electricity) included in the monthly rent? Do you have to pay extra for appliances like a washer and dryer?

It’s important to take these expenses into account when renting in the USA. If they’re not included in the monthly rent, they can add up quickly. Be sure to factor them into your budget.

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