When you're looking at student apartments there are many things to consider.
That’s why it's important to find an apartment that has everything you need in it—especially if your lease is long-term.
Do you want an apartment with a kitchen? Or are the shared amenities of your building enough? What kind of location do you prefer? Do you want to be close to campus or not so close, or somewhere in between? If budget is an issue, what can be sacrificed for the right location? How many people will live in the apartment with you? Will one person have their own room or will two share a room? What kind of amenities are most important for your lifestyle—does free food sound good; does having access to an on-site gym matter; does having cable TV matter?
You’ll want to consider all these questions before you pick a place to rent.
Now, before you get overwhelmed, we’ve put together a list of some of the most important things you should look for when choosing a place to rent. Use this guide and follow our tips to make sure you get exactly what you're looking for.
Furnished vs. Unfurnished Apartments
One of the first things you’ll need to decide on when choosing an apartment to rent is whether it’s going to be furnished or not. Of course, there are several advantages to both. Let’s look at some.
Perks of Living in an Unfurnished Apartment
Renting an unfurnished apartment allows you to decorate it any way you choose. If you have a specific style in mind, it’s simple to make use of an empty apartment's bare characteristics. You can paint the walls whatever color you choose (if the terms of your lease allow), hang inspiring artwork, and choose your own furniture design.
An unfurnished apartment will be less expensive to rent than a furnished one, but that's because there's nothing other than a roof over your head. Because there is so much work to be done, the initial move-in is more expensive. You’ll have to go out and buy everything, and then furnish and decorate the place yourself. Bringing up big items, for example, through narrow staircases takes time and energy, causing more of a headache than you’d prefer.
So while an unfurnished place might appear to be cheaper to rent initially, that won’t necessarily always be the case due to more expenditures in the long term.
Perks of Living in a Furnished Apartment
First of all, there’s no precise definition of what constitutes a furnished apartment; some apartments come somewhat furnished, while others come fully equipped. The majority of rentals in this category include a bed, dresser, kitchen appliances, living room furnishings, and bathroom amenities. Some pre-furnished flats may even include drapes, rugs, or kitchen items.
One of the best perks of living in a furnished apartment is that it’s a more affordable apartment alternative. As we’ve already mentioned, apartment furnishing is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor.
Moving into an unfurnished apartment might make sense if you plan to rent long-term and will be able to keep your furnishings. However, if you do not expect to stay in the same place for an extended amount of time, buying furniture and incurring moving costs each time you move flats may not be the best idea. You won't have to factor these fees into your budget if your flat comes fully furnished. It also means paying less for the first month of living expenses and more money in your pocket for other things.
Plus, how nice would it be to move into your new apartment with only a few boxes to unpack?
You also won't have to deal with moving agencies or your pals complaining about back pain from your heavy furniture if you rent a furnished apartment. Everything will be in place when you move into your new apartment, and you’ll just need to add your personal accents and details.
Although some tenants might be apprehensive that renting a furnished apartment will not make them feel at home, that isn’t always the case. You can still design your apartment space to your liking. Yes, the furniture won’t be chosen by you, but you can decorate your space any way you see fit.
Roommate Number & Shared vs. Private rooms
Another thing you’ll have to consider when choosing a place is whether you want to live in a private or shared room.
- Shared Room: In a shared room, you’ll be sharing a room with one or more other people. This could entail sharing a bedroom with one other person or staying in a dormitory-style setting with multiple bunk beds in a single room. The bathroom and kitchen are also usually shared.
- Private Room: In a private room, you get just that. This might be a single bedroom in an apartment or a bedroom in a house, but you'll have a bed and a private space to store your possessions. If the bathroom or kitchen is not part of the room, you may have to share them.
How Many Roommates Do You Want?
Apartment communities are great places to meet people. They have social events and amenities that bring people together from all walks of life, meaning that you can make lifelong friends or even find your future spouse.
If you choose to live in a shared room at your apartment complex though, you’ll need to think about how many roommates you’re comfortable living with—one, two, or three, or none?
One of the perks of living in a shared room is that it’s cheaper, but it usually means having to sacrifice privacy. If you don’t mind living with roommates, a shared room will not only help you save some money, but it’s also an opportunity to become close friends with those you’re living with.
Discussing things with your roommates before moving in can be helpful in terms of getting on the same page and coming up with solutions to foreseeable problems early, even before they arise, and ensuring you’ll have the best semester possible with your roommates.
Think About Pricing
Sharing an apartment with a friend or roommate will make a big difference in reducing the cost of living.
Splitting rent, energy payments, cable or internet bills, and even food will also increase your college budget and free up funds for other expenses.
Signing the Lease
When several people sign a lease together, whoever is listed first on the lease is responsible for the entire rent amount if anyone else defaults, so make sure that you're comfortable with whomever you're signing with.
Make sure that all parties have similar expectations for the apartment and that they understand their financial responsibilities. If one person assumes they can start paying less than everyone else or expects to get free cable in exchange for paying more rent, this could lead to conflict and problems down the road.
Finally, make sure that everyone who is signing on has enough money saved up to actually pay their share of the rent.
When choosing an apartment to rent, one of the most important things you need to consider is amenities.
Amenities are non-essential extras that complement the rest of the apartment's characteristics. Hot tubs, workout centers, clubhouses, and even laundry facilities are all considered amenities.
Amenities are often paid for in advance with the application fee, although they are occasionally added to the monthly rent. Before you commit to those payments, consider what things you require and which you can go without.
Here are some amenities you should take into account when choosing a place to rent:
- Parking: Many students drive and need a safe and secure place to park their cars. If your student housing includes a parking space, this can be very handy throughout the academic year.
- Gym: Another amenity you should look for is a gym. Not only will it help keep you fit and healthy while studying, but a housing or apartment complex that features a gym will make those trips to the gym much easier, motivating you to work out often.
- Study rooms: Study rooms are another thing to consider when choosing an apartment in a housing complex. Apartment complexes with study rooms are great for studying because they allow students an opportunity to focus on their work without distractions like loud music or parties next door distracting them from their studies. And with access to the internet, it’s easy enough for students who prefer working outside of traditional libraries (or who want more privacy) to do so while still having access to resources like books and journals that might otherwise be difficult or impossible for many individuals due to their location. Plus, with study rooms within walking distance from home or campus, you also won’t need to worry about transportation or worry about being able to afford parking passes at costly nearby lots.
- Laundry: Laundry services include a washer and dryer, and they’re important to consider when choosing an apartment. A place that includes laundry services will make it possible to save time and money by eliminating the need to travel to off-site laundromats.
How Do I Pay for Utilities?
Look at the utilities that are provided with the rent and which ones you have to pay separately. If your apartment has electricity, water, and heating included in the monthly rent, this can save you money and make it easier for you when managing your finances.
However, some apartments might not come with these services included in their monthly rate, meaning that they'll need to be paid separately. This can end up costing more than if one were just renting an apartment that does have them included in their rent.
Lastly, it's important to scour online reviews of the apartment you're considering. You'll want to look for red flags, positive reviews, and patterns in the negative reviews. If a lot of people are complaining about cockroaches or bed bugs, this is probably not going to be a great place for you. If there are no reviews at all or they seem like they're all written by employees at the property management company, that's another warning sign that something shady could be going on with your potential living situation. So make sure you read online reviews of the place before you sign that lease.
The Right Housing for You
If you’re looking for affordable BYU-I housing, we invite you to come to check out our student housing at American Avenue.
American Avenue is designed for students like you, right next to the college and steps from downtown Rexburg. Our BYU-I certified accommodation offers shared or private rooms, bathrooms in each bedroom, or a vanity area with two full bathrooms. Plus, we have all kinds of amazing amenities to make your college stay as comfortable as possible.
Call us today if you have any questions or if you’d like to find out more. We’re here to help make your college experience a memorable one.