For many students who are starting college, it’s the first time they are moving out of home and renting a place all by themselves. It’s a life-changing time that is equally exciting and daunting, particularly if you are financing the rental yourself.
So how can you find an affordable property that will allow you to study when you need to, while also meeting other students? In this guide, we have a few tips and tricks up our sleeve.
It all starts with searching online for suitable studios at rental comparison websites such as Rentola. You’ll find both independent and shared properties to choose from, so you can make the lifestyle move that suits you.
Know your budget
Before starting your search, figure out how much rent you can afford to pay while also considering food and grocery expenses, utility bills and university supplies. Generally speaking, the closer to campus and the more amenities being offered, the more expensive the rental will be.
Establishing a budget from the get-go will ensure you don’t end up in financial stress and is a great life skill to master. If you’re not sure where to start, you can take advantage of online budget-tracking tools and spreadsheets.
Start your search early
As they say, “the early bird gets the worm” and the same is true when searching for student rentals. Avoid leaving your search to the last minute or you’ll end up with slim pickings.
When browsing online, check out reviews from previous renters about the pros and cons of a property and research the best student neighbourhoods in your chosen destination.
Look further afield
If you’re finding that studio rentals within walking distance of the campus are unaffordable, consider casting your search net a little wider. You’ll probably get more bang for your buck the further away you go, although sought-after suburbs with high real estate prices may still be out of reach.
Before you settle on living in the cheapest neighbourhood, always do your research about how safe it is to live there.
Compare with care
Some student rentals will come with included Wi-Fi and/or electricity, water and gas while others will require you to pay for these services ON TOP of the weekly rent. So when comparing different studios, make sure you are comparing apples with apples to determine which one offers the best deal.
If the property is not within walking distance of the campus, also take into consideration the costs of public transportation if you’ll be coming and going from campus on a daily basis.
Sharing a space with other students is a great way of meeting new people, particularly if you’ve just moved from out of town. It’s also a simple way of keeping accommodation expenses down, with a room in a shared abode usually cheaper than a private studio or apartment.
If you decide to share, you’ll probably have your own room (and sometimes a private bathroom) but with shared kitchen and laundry facilities. A good tip is to find housemates who have similar priorities to you, whether that’s studying, partying or a balance of both.
Get your documentation in order
Before anyone is going to rent you a studio, they want to see that you have the financial means to make the required payments. In addition to proof of income (or a letter of sponsorship from your parents), you should also have a photo ID and a favourable credit record.
Student rentals are highly competitive, so without having your documentation in order, you risk losing out to someone who does.
Don’t get lured into ultra-cheap deals
A final word of warning – if a student rental price appears too good to be true, then it probably is. Unfortunately, there are landlords out there waiting to take advantage of students who don’t know the local regulations and will bend the rules to make money at your expense.
Always check the fine print in your lease so that you understand how many people you will be sharing with and what your obligations are as a renter. Ideally, try and view the property before you sign anything and make sure that it is structurally sound and the appliances are all working.
If something does seem awry, most universities have a housing advisory service where you can voice any concerns BEFORE you commit.