Beyond the Dorms: A Blog About Finding Housing for College Students
Living in a dorm your freshman year is almost like an initiation into your college life, but what about your second, third, and fourth year? It’s almost a guarantee that you’ll be over dorm life before you know it (who wants to be sharing a tiny room with no kitchen for four years?), and once you enter the world of looking for housing beyond the grounds of your campus, a whole new, daunting world opens up. As a new college student, it feels like just weeks ago I was moving into my dorm room (and it was!), and now I’m already starting the process of looking for a place to live next year. While the process is far from over, I’ve written this blog to share the best advice I have as a beginner during this process, so keep reading for tips that may help you if you’re a student yourself or the parent of one.
As I said before, I’m only weeks in to my freshman year of college but am already beginning to do my research of apartments in the area. Apartments and other complexes get filled up very fast, meaning you can’t wait until the summer before school starts to sign a lease- they’ll all be gone by that time! You need to have a place ready no later than the end of spring semester before the school year when you’re planning on living off-campus, meaning you should be looking, researching, and narrowing your options during fall semester.
Talk to Everyone You Can!
There’s no doubt about it- people learn best from experience, and that serves true with apartment-hunting in college as well. You’ll learn the most from talking to current upperclassmen who have been through this process before; talk to them about where they looked for housing, where they’re living now, how they like it, how the landlord/building/area is, how close it is to campus, etc.
In the town surrounding my campus, apartment listings, pamphlets, and booklets could be found at my local Publix, so I encourage you to look around! Stop in other local shops and grocery stores, look at those announcement boards that are overflowing with papers, and even stop in to any leasing office or lobby of an apartment building you happen to be walking by to find more information.
Get a Professional’s Opinion
Reach out to real estate agents in your college’s area or back at home where you’re from- they’re the experts, after all! Simply making a phone call to ask for advice is extremely helpful in familiarizing yourself with what your getting into, and it’ll help you get to know your area a lot better. You can even contact us at Collins & Company if you’re in need of any advice on this topic! For another resource, check out this blog post from Eldridge Home Team for a break down of when it’s a good and bad idea to buy and rent housing.