Choosing your off-campus apartment, or choosing whether to even move off campus in the first place can be a difficult decision. After you have taken tours of some apartments, you might feel stuck with choosing between them. There are many factors to consider.
Does your apartment or house come with parking spots included? Are there enough spaces for you and your roommates, or do you have to fight over the space? If there is no parking included, do your research and see if there is any free street parking nearby. Also, look into nearby parking garages. At my apartment on High Street, the parking garage nearby costs $90 per month, along with a $200 activation fee. That’s $1,280 for the year.
Does your place have a washer and dryer included? If it doesn’t, laundry is going to be a hassle. You’ll either need to drive to the nearest laundromat (assuming that you are paying to park a car here to begin with) or you’ll need to be in walking distance to a laundromat. My biggest regret in choosing my apartment is not having a washer and dryer included. I live two blocks from a laundromat. It seemed close enough at the time, but it’s a hassle and time-consuming. I always put off doing it.
If you plan on living with more than one other person, you will need to decide which people in the group are sharing a room, and which people are not. The biggest issue here is negotiating the pay difference between people who are sharing a room and people who aren’t. Sharing a room can be a huge money-saver, but make sure you’re paying less than people who have their own rooms.
Rent should be divided between rooms, not people. For example, if your rent for a three bedroom apartment is $2100, that means $700 per room. People sharing a room should pay $350 each. However, this can be debated if the rooms are all different sizes.
In a three bedroom apartment between some students I know, two of the roommates are sharing a room, and the other two have their own rooms. Instead of the two roommates dividing the cost of the one room, they signed a deal to pay only $50 less per person for sharing a room. This means that the people with their own rooms are only paying $50 more per month for this huge benefit. Make sure your division of rent is fair before signing on it.
When deciding if moving off campus is right for you, keep in mind that most leases run from June to June. This means that you’ll still have to pay rent all summer if you only plan to move in at the end of August. And, if you go home for the six-week winter break, that’s another month and a half worth of rent wasted. Make sure that the money you’re putting in is worth it.
Alexis Lincoln is a third-year English major with a minor journalism. AL892562@wcupa.edu