One of the most exciting things about college is finding that first apartment. The parents are gone and what better way to celebrate your independence than living with your closest friends? It becomes your home away from home, sanctuary, and your space to relax when college gets too crazy. However, it can easily become your hell if not careful. One bad apartment experience can end up affecting your academics, personal health, and relationships. Before you sign that lease, take a look at this list of things to consider that will help prevent potential problems from arising.
1. Friends don’t always make the best roommates
Everyone has heard those awful roommate stories – slobs, brings random people home, etc. Eliminate the risk of becoming part of the bad roommates club by choosing a roommate based on common values. A few topics you should discuss include apartment cleanliness, alcohol consumption, and their social life (will there be people over every night). You should also consider talking to their current roommate. Being friends is different from living with someone, so it will give you a different perspective. Then, prepare a list of pros/cons or at least a mental list that make you aware of potential issues that could happen when you live with this person.
I made the mistake of living farther from campus, and it sucked. I had to rely on the bus to get to class, and I felt very disconnected from the rest of my friends. So, when apartment hunting keep in mind the distance from town and college life.
3. Have you met my neighbor?
Although it is difficult to figure out until you move-in, take preliminary measures to ensure your apartment is in a safe area. Read reviews from websites such as apartmentratings.com to figure out if the area has a high level of crime, sexual predators, and if the complex is geared towards college students. I find that apartment complexes filled with students help with the transition as well as eases the parents mind. Parents are much more accepting to cosign for an apartment where you will be living with fellow peers than with 50 year olds.
4. Take Precaution of Building Construction Issues
Although I researched apartment complexes near campus and read reviews, I didn’t take into consideration the construction of the building itself. When I read reviews of pest infestations or thin walls, I thought that won’t happen to me. As you can probably guess, it did. Within a week of move-in, we had cockroaches popping up and I could hear everything my neighbors were saying. The sad part was that they weren’t even yelling. So, when going through the process, take everything into consideration – the good and the bad.
Overall, try not to get overwhelmed and write pros/cons for every apartment you see. Keep yourself organized to avoid these common mistakes, and take your time with the process. This could be the apartment for the rest of your college years, so what’s the hurry?
About the Author: Allie Castillo is a recent college grad and currently works as a Marketing Associate for Gainesville Apartments. In her free time, she enjoys to play with her dog, travel, and bake.