If you or your child attends a college or university – or will be going off to college soon – you’ll face a big decision about where to spend those years on campus.
Specifically, does the student prefer to live in campus housing, like dorms, or do they want the independence of having their own apartment?
For those who prefer the latter, you can share places like the usc apartments with other students or young professionals if you prefer the independent lifestyle but want to save money on renting a bigger place.
The fear for many students is that most of the apartments they want to rent will be out of their price range. So while you may have to ignore specific listings that are out of your budget, you can still typically find plenty of nice apartments that allow you to conserve cash.
Here are five tips for finding the best value-for-money apartment in a college town or city.
1. Learn about the neighborhoods
One of the most effective ways to understand where you can find an apartment within your budget is to learn more about the neighborhoods of a city. For example, research online to assess which areas cater to higher-income residents versus communities where college students and young professionals tend to be renting apartments.
So long as you are renting a place in a safe area, there’s no reason you can’t find a great place in a lower-income neighborhood. There are countless gems in these parts of cities around the United States, provided you spend some time sifting through apartment listings to find the best available units.
2. Search patiently
If you are impatient, you are unlikely to find the great apartment you’re looking for on a budget in a college city. Instead, you will have to spend a week or two going through listings and assessing the options before you find the apartment that fits your budget and meets your other criteria.
Do not feel disheartened if you don’t find the ideal place in the first few days. While you may have to search more, you will eventually find that perfect listing that ticks all your boxes, and it is well worth the time and effort when you do!
3. Be prepared when applying
The trick to securing a good-value apartment in a college town or city is being decisive when you do find that listing that meets your needs. For instance, you could discover the ideal apartment tomorrow but may miss out if you don’t have the relevant documentation to apply for a unit ready to be rented quickly. This process can take days if you’re unprepared, by which point you may have missed your chance to be in the running to rent the apartment.
You must have all the relevant documents about your college attendance, job, income, savings, credit score, and other relevant information. By having physical and digital copies of these documents, you can apply for an apartment within minutes of seeing one you like.
4. Ask about specials
Never hesitate to inquire about the available specials on an apartment. If you use an apartment-listing site to find great places in the city where you are attending college, ask about any move-in specials on homes you find appealing.
There is a chance one or more of those landlords may be willing to include a discount, such as a waived application fee or a free month’s rent if they can get a tenant to move into their unit within a matter of days.
Remember that rent specials are more likely to be available in winter. Case in point: if you are moving to a college town between semesters of the school year, you may be lucky enough to find a fantastic apartment for a lower-than-usual rate.
5. Consider the overall picture
Prospective tenants often make the mistake of thinking the amount they will pay each month in rent is all they need to consider when deciding on an apartment. While you may hope to find a place available for the lowest possible monthly price, rent is not the be-all and end-all of apartment hunting.
Consider that you would have a long commute if you find a place with a low rental cost but very far away from where you work or attend classes. Spending hours in a car, bus, or train each day is losing valuable time when you could be working or studying.
Similarly, many lower-priced apartments may need better amenities, such as in-building washer and dryer units or rooftop access. When you find an apartment through a reputable listing site, you are more likely to find places that offer these fantastic perks.