Begin exploring off-campus housing choices as soon as possible to understand the rental market in the area where the institution is located. Think about things like location, affordability, transport, and safety.
Determine your budget and find housing options that meet it. Be realistic about what you can afford. When searching for off-campus housing, you should factor in the cost of rent, utilities, and other expenses like internet and cable. You should also consider the cost of commuting if you need to commute to campus or to work.
- Look for listings
Check out online classifieds websites such as Places4Students, Craigslist or Kijiji to search for available apartments and houses for rent. Some universities also have online housing search portals for students. You may also hire a real estate agent to assist you in your search. Realtors usually have access to a wide selection of properties that are not listed online. Additionally, you can also ask friends and family for recommendations.
- Plan a visit
Visit the university and the surrounding area to view potential off-campus housing options in person. This will give you a better understanding of the neighbourhood and the house.
- Contact landlords
Contacting landlords who have properties for rent is essential. It's imperative to thoroughly research the area and the landlord before signing a lease. Ask the landlord about their payment policies, pet policies, and other vital details.
- Verify Legitimacy
When searching for accommodations online, avoid scams. Only send money or personal information after verifying the legitimacy of the listing or the landlord. Visit the accommodation in person or ask someone you trust to do so.
- Consider roommates
Look for suitable roommates. You'll want to make sure you are compatible with your potential roommates. Talk with them about expectations and living habits, and make sure you are on the same page. Establishing boundaries and expectations early on is also essential to avoid conflicts later.
- Sign the lease
Once you have found the perfect off-campus housing, the next step is to sign the lease. Read the lease carefully and understand the terms and conditions before signing. Ensure you know of additional fees or costs, such as security deposits or utility bills. Once you have signed the lease, you can move into your new home.
NOTE - Before signing a rental agreement, ensure you understand and are comfortable with the terms. Thoroughly read the contract or consult an expert, and request a copy in advance to review and ask questions.