6 Mistakes College Students Make Renting Their First Apartment
College is a time to learn, and it begins before class starts! Many students find themselves wanting to move from a dorm to an apartment. However, due to anxiety and inexperience many students make poor decisions that cause regret. Find 6 common mistakes college students make in renting their first apartment.
- Champagne Taste, Beer Budget: It seems pretty obvious, but it’s the most common mistake college students make in renting their first apartment. The general rule is one-third of your take-home salary can be applied toward your rental expense. For example, if you earn (or have access to) $3,000 a month after taxes, your rent should be no more than $1,000. If your location does not offer you options that fit into these numbers, you will have to reduce your leisure expenses. . But first and foremost, do not forget that you will have to pay food, utilities, furniture, student loans, transportation, etc.
- Renting an Apartment- Sight Unseen: Start the apartment search online well in advance. Select a couple or few potentials and VISIT! Remember, this will be your home- finding out too late it isn’t for you puts a damper on the excitement! For example, the property photos may be outdated, if its furnished, the furniture displayed in the pictures may no longer be there, the real size may be different from the one available, etc. In order to avoid surprises, speak with the landlord beforehand. Answers to your questions can help alleviate misunderstandings down the road.
- Is it Lipstick on a Pig?: Some college students look at the “cool factor” in design and style above all else. In many cases the phrase “appearances can be misleading” ring true. You may find an “cool” apartment, but it has HVAC issues, leaking pipes, electrical problems, so on and so forth. Not so cool, right? Talk to your parents or other sources about common problems you may have to deal with while renting. Address these concerns to your potential landlord for clarifications.
- Paying for Amenities you Won’t Use: Your new digs have a nice pool, great gym space, party and game rooms- but you spend most of your time on campus at class, in the library,etc. Your rent expense will reflect these amenities, even if you don’t use them. If you know you won’t use all of the amenities there is no reasons to pay for them. Alternatively, if you workout alot, an apartment community with this amenity may be cheaper than a gym membership. It’s a matter of priorities and routines. Be realistic.
- Roommate or Not?: There are those of you who are desperate to leave dorm life and choose to live alone. That means that all of the expenses associated with your rental will be solely your responsibility.If you have a roommate, generally, you would share these expenditures with them. Moreover, living with others can provide you a sense of security and peace of mind.
- The Right Roommate: It’s very common for college students to rent with friends. Living with a friend has some “cons”. A main one being it may be more difficult to set boundaries. Now apart from drinks, you will share bills and space. Hence, some uncomfortable situations may arise such as asking for a late payment, cleaning common spaces, etc. Be sure you and your potential roommate share some common values. Get to know their habits, routine, preferences, etc. Don’t ruin a friendship because of your living arrangements.
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