Finding Student Housing

Finding Student Housing

Although nearly every major American college campus offers on-campus housing, there is only so much housing for students, and some students cannot afford this feature anyway. So, for students who need real estate for their college years, rental units for students are available on the more general rental market, such as local apartments of all kinds. Rental units for students do not have to be ultra-cheap or shabby or fit the stereotype of a broke college student; whenever possible, college students are encouraged to use conventional strategies for finding living spaces and find the best place for their price range, and rental units for students can in fact be very comfortable and offer amenities, and some may be pet friendly apartments for students who bring their cats or dogs, or other pets like birds or lizards, with them. What are some general trends in the housing market that students should keep in mind, and what kinds of student rental units are the best?

Renting Today

Rental units for students, aside from preferably being close to the college campus, do not have to differ much from the apartments that regular households look for when finding real estate for rent. Plenty of Americans rent their real estate instead of buying it; in the year 2016, for example, 27% of Americans were renting, and according to the Rental Protection Agency, about 2,654 people will enter the rental market every single day, looking for places to stay. And during the year 2017, about 43 million rental housing units were occupied across the entire country. All this translates into a new unit being rented every 80 seconds, and every 30 seconds, a new renter is moving their belongings into an apartment. Many renters are between the ages of 15-34, encompassing the entire Millenial generation and older members of the “Generation Z” or “iGeneration” that comes after them. The Rental Protection Agency believes that this age group makes up 40.6% of all American renters.

Off Campus Student Housing

The work of finding rental units for students can be relatively easy, or at least well-informed, since students looking for off-campus housing can simply use the same advice and guidance that any conventional renter would use, and there is plenty of it. To start with, students can use Internet searches, and consult real estate agents and tenant brokers, to find a whole list of properties that are fairly close to the college campus (the exact distance will vary by preference and transportation availability). Once this list is compiled, a student can start comparing these places on paper; that is, ranking them by cost, listed features and amenities, attractions and features in their neighborhoods or city blocks, and the maximum household size and whether or not pets are allowed inside. A student with two dogs, for example, can eliminate any property with a “no pets” rule.

This is only the first step. Although online and on a brochure, a student can find out basic facts like monthly rent and utilities and the number of bathrooms and bedrooms in a unit, many factors can only be fairly evaluated in person. For this reason, once a list of potential rental units for students is narrowed down somewhat, a student is encouraged to visit the remaining properties to inspect their maintenance and features with their own eyes and ears (and noses, in some cases). Maintenance issues such as drafty windows or doors, unusable electrical sockets, leaking faucets, mold, and creaking floorboard can only be evaluated with a personal visit. Noise levels due to neighbors and outside sounds can also be taken into account at both day and night; students who can’t stand constant noise and disruptions may turn down a property that is noisy. Also, the actual amenities offered, from swimming pools and hot tubs to workout gyms and coffee shops, should be visited to judge their quality and state of repair.

Students should bear in mind how long they plan to stay; a student might forgive slightly shabby accommodations if they are going to stay at a place for just one semester or year, especially if their budget is tight, but students with higher budgets, or those staying at a place for more than one year, should be choosier about where they stay.

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