This post is all about college apartment tips.
Living in a college apartment is a wild ride; the first time you feel like an adult (I mean how much more adult is signing a lease and getting renters insurance??) and the first time you are in control of who you live with and what your apartment looks like.
There are so many little things that go into making your college apartment experience the best that many people don't know. From choosing the right roommates to making sure you don't get your money stolen from you by renters who take advantage of young college students. College is supposed to be the most amazing time of your life, so why not be as prepared as possible?!
These college tips come from personal experience and I am in no way saying I have all the facts. I highly recommend taking the time to research, research, research! Now let me tell you everything I wish I knew before I got an apartment in college.
This post is all about college apartment tips.
HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT ROOMMATES:
1. Best friends aren't always the best choices
Listen, we all love our best friends; they put smiles on our faces, embarrass us, and ultimately make our lives better. But sometimes you and your best friend do not have the same lifestyles. If you are an extremely clean person and your best friend is not, or if you wake up at five a.m. while your best friend is telling you to close the blinds at 1 p.m. because they're still sleeping, they may not be the perfect match for you when it comes to choosing a roommate.
Most people should NOT room with their best friends, it is a huge myth that has ended many amazing relationships. If you are someone who is with your best friend 10+ hours a day, it might be a good decision to have space away from them, so you both don't get overwhelmed by each other.
You need to find roommates who align with the way you live. If you are a clean, organized person find roommates who are also clean and organized. If you are a night owl, find roommates who also don't go to bed till three a.m. If you don't, you are each going to be stepping on one another's toes constantly.
2. The most important question you should ask a potential roommate
So, you've found a roommate who you think will be perfect, yay!! Everything seems dandy while you make Pinterest boards and envision how you are going to decorate your apartment. This is all seems amazing, but all this time and energy will be wasted if you don't get one thing clear: what's your budget??! You NEED to ask your potential roommate what they plan to spend because if she was planning on spending $2000 a month on an apartment when you only have $500 to spend, that whole living together situation will never happen.
Always, always be upfront about what you can spend so that no one gets excited and has their feelings hurt.
FINDING THE PERFECT APARTMENT:
3. Landlords are liars
Yep, I said it, and nine out of ten times, landlords are trying to take advantage of you. There are so many costs that are not accounted for in the upfront cost that you must be aware of.
- Are gas, heat, water, and electricity included? If so, how much?
Landlords will often leave these prices out in order to attract more potential renters who are first-timers and oblivious to costs that are not upfront.
A few landlords will include gas, heat, water, etc. in a monthly added cost (mine sophomore year was $55 a month, junior year it wasn't included, and senior year it was $35 per month). You need to make sure that you are aware of the added costs and adjust how much you are willing to spend on an apartment accordingly.
- How much is the laundry/ where is your laundry facility?
A lot of cheaper apartments do not have laundry units or they are across the street or in the basement. It is so important to know where you can do your laundry (also this might not be included in the costs and something that you will have to pay for on your own).
- How much is the earnest or security deposit?
When I first applied for an apartment I had no idea that there was a security deposit. It makes sense now, but basically, they want to know you're committed and have a little wad of money with them in case you damage something.
In my experience, all of my security deposits were one month's rent amount. This is annoying, but you need to be aware that when you apply for an apartment, you should have one month's rent saved up to automatically give to them (and pray you to get it back at the end of the lease term).
4. Read the reviews
Highly recommend reading reviews and asking previous tenants how their experience was in the apartment. I actually just had a crazy experience when it came to asking a previous tenants opinion on the apartment; I had a video tour of an apartment I was very keen on signing for and before I left the apartment's tour guide asked if I had any questions, which led to me having the opportunity to speak with the girls who were currently living in the apartment.
I asked them to be completely honest with me as to whether or not they would recommend living in the apartment. To my surprise (and I am sure the guy who worked for the leasing company) the girl I spoke to was straight up and said she would not recommend living there. She explained that they have continuously had maintenance problems and the apartment company never comes to help. This is extremely important to know and I am so glad she let me know. If your bathroom shower stops working and no one comes to help for over a week, that's an issue.
YOU are paying for the maintenance people to come and for the apartment company to be on top of all of that all things having to do with your RENTED apartment. They work for you, not the other way around. READ THE REVIEWS!!
READ THIS BEFORE YOU MOVE-IN TO YOUR APARTMENT:
5. Protect your security deposit
When you move-in most landlords will give you a "move-in checklist" of sorts it is a sheet for you to jot down any marks you find, problems, or issues that are currently in the apartment.
You NEED to fill this out extensively, it will save you your security deposit. Landlords want to blame you for things so that they can make excuses and keep your money.
If you write down every problem you find in the apartment (rusty tub, mark on the floor, huge a$$ hole in the wall (legit happened to me), broken chair) then this should hopefully save you and make sure you get your deposit back. If you do not, fight it.
6. How to make sure your move-in runs smoothly
Before you move-in (preferably a few weeks, at the least, before you move-in) make sure that you and your roommate(s) know who is going to buy what for your apartment. Cleaning products, furniture, etc. will all need to be purchased before you move into your apartment. Try to make everything as fair as possible.
7. DO NOT forget this!!
I don't know how but I completely forgot to think about wifi. You need to make sure you add wifi into your monthly costs because I am guessing you are going to need to work on your computer when you are home.
8. Facebook Market, is that you?
If you don't have the luxury of buying brand new furniture that costs $1000+ (right there with your) or if your apartment doesn't come furnished, I highly recommend checking out the Facebook market. If you are in a college area, people are constantly moving in and out and furniture is needing to be sold. You can find some great gems there that will be amazing for your apartment.
9. Cleaning.... and getting your roommates to keep the apartment clean
My biggest fear is having roommates who leave the apartment destroyed and it's always up to me to keep it clean. Living with roommates is all about making things completely clear. As soon as you move in you should all get-together and discuss when you want to clean, what your pet peeves are, and hard no's for each of you.
For example, my biggest pet peeve is dishes left in the sink. It takes two seconds to put it in the dishwasher and it makes the apartment look very messy (I know, I'm a pain to live with haha). But making your pet peeves clear is super important. My sister cannot watch people brush their teeth if you are roommates with her, this is something you probably want to know. It is so much easier to live with someone when everything is out in the open.