How to find an apartment and live off campus.

Choosing to live off campus in an apartment at a US college can be exciting and fun, but also tiring and a huge responsibility. With the freedom of off campus life comes more bills, more chores and more worries.

If this is your first time finding a place to live off campus, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Friends and campus offices can assist you in your search for the perfect apartment.

Before You Live Off Campus

First decide if you will live off campus alone in your new apartment or with roommates. If you will have roommates, how many? This will determine the number of bedrooms your apartment should have.

You and your roommates should decide the price, approximate location and amenities of the apartment before you even start looking. If you want only to live east of campus, don’t bother looking on the south side. If air conditioning is a must, ask about this before you make an appointment to view the apartment.

Browse the classified section of your school or city newspapers for apartment listings. Also look for “For Rent” signs in front of houses and apartments near campus. Ask friends where they live off campus and if they like the area.

Viewing the Off Campus Apartment

If possible, look at the apartment with all of your roommates at the same time. Then the group of you can make a decision about renting almost immediately.

Cost will probably be a major factor when you and your roommates choose to live off campus. Other items to consider include:

  • Size of the rooms
  • View from the windows
  • Nearest laundry facilities
  • Distance from campus
  • Availability of parking, if needed
  • What, if any, utilities are included in the rent
  • Safety of the area.

Chores and Other Off Campus Responsibilities

So you’ve moved in and decided who gets which bedroom. Now come the daily responsibilities of renting an apartment.

Many of the initial discussions you and your roommates will have are similar to those you had when you moved into a college dorm. Who will take out the trash? Can you have visitors? Is your music too loud?

Some of the issues, however, will be new. Who will be in charge of sending the rent and utility checks each month? Do you have enough furniture? Is all of the food in the refrigerator for sharing?
Answer these questions soon after you move in – if not before you live off campus – to prevent arguments.

Renting an off-campus apartment near a US college takes time and patience, and choosing the right roommates will help. Live off campus with friends who have similar lifestyles and interests. Just make sure you live off campus with at least one person who is good with money— rent must be paid on time!