Living on campus may be the easy option, but it’s rarely the best option. Although it takes less effort to ask your university to find a room for you, there are several downsides. It will end up costing you more, you’ll need to follow dorm rules, and your personal space will be limited. With off-campus housing, in contrast, you can find a place that suits you, share with whomever you want, and learn how to live independently — a skill you’ll need for the rest of your life. To make sure you find the best possible housing, take into account the following considerations.

1. Your Budget

Student housing varies widely in terms of cost. To figure out how much you can afford to spend on housing, calculate your monthly income and subtract all your other expenses. Try to spend no more than about 30 percent of your total income on housing and remember you’ll need enough left over for the security deposit and utilities.

2. The Right Roommates

Your closest friends may not necessarily make the best roommates — it’s more important to choose people with similar lifestyles to you. For instance, your roommates should have similar budgets, expectations for entertaining guests, and ideas about how clean your home should be. If you don’t know anyone who you feel would be a great fit (or you’re just starting at university), you can always connect with potential roommates over social media or inquire about roommate matching services.

3. How You’ll Get to Class

Determine where exactly to search for apartments by deciding how you’ll commute to campus. If you want to walk, your home should be a few blocks away at the most. However, if you have a bike or car, you can look farther afield — although you will need bike storage or parking. If you want to use public transit, consider how late the bus or train runs, especially if you plan on taking night classes.

4. The Earlier You Start Looking, the More Options You’ll Have

All the students attending your university who want to live off campus will be searching for housing in the same area as you. To avoid being left with places no one wants and apartments far away from campus, start your search as early as possible.

5. Extra Perks

If you start looking when there are still plenty of options on the market, you can search for amenities that will make your stay in student housing that much better. For instance, you may be able to find an apartment with high-speed internet, an onsite gym, and modern appliances, such as a washer and dryer.

6. Types of Housing

Be aware of the options for student housing in your city. As well as independent apartment buildings, many university towns have dedicated off-campus housing for students. These tend to be near schools and you may have the option of only leasing a bedroom, rather than needing to pay for the entire unit and utilities.

7. Your Gut Feeling

Only commit to an apartment when it feels right. If you’re unsure about the neighbourhood, if the building is rundown, or if anything feels off, search for somewhere else. At most places, you’ll need to sign a lease for a year — the last thing you want is to be stuck somewhere you dislike or need to break your lease and lose your security deposit.

Want to take the stress out of finding a room for rent? Kingston students can find a home at Foundry Princess. You’ll have access to a range of luxury amenities that you won’t find elsewhere, including a rooftop patio, a swimming pool, and free coffee. Apply now to secure your place while units last.

rachel_grier@outlook.com

Author rachel_grier@outlook.com

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