Thursday, October 31, 2013

Apartment Checklist: Features a College Student Should Look For

Are you a college or university student who is looking for an apartment? You may look at apartments owned and maintained by your college or university, or independently owned off-campus apartments. Finding the best apartment for you can take weeks. This checklist will get you started on your search.1. Location. You probably want to be as close to the campus as possible. Ithaca College's student apartments are close to the campus walkway and it takes only 12 minutes to reach the campus center.2. Parking. If the apartment has a parking space you may have to pay extra for it. Chances are this space is for cars only, not boats, trailers or campers.3. Elevator. Hauling stuff up several flights of stairs isn't easy. Not having an elevator may be a deal-breaker.4. Capacity. The landlord will be able to tell you the maximum capacity of the apartment. This number is determined by the college/university or the fire marshall.5. Rent. On its website the University of Northern Iowa says its apartments are "lower rent than the average in the community." Is the rent reasonable?6. Lease. Auburn University in Alabama offers a "By-the-Bed" lease agreement that says you're responsible for your portion of the rent only. Students aren't penalized if a roommate fails to pay rent on time or at all.7. Extra costs. You may have to pay for water, electricity, cable television, and other extras.8. Damage deposit. A $200 damage deposit is a reasonable amount. If you know a student who has rented an apartment in this building, find out if their damage deposit was returned.9. Furnished or unfurnished? A furnished apartment usually includes the basics: beds, mattresses, eating table and chairs, and a couch. If the apartment comes unfurnished, you will have to rent furniture or provide your own.10. Window coverings. The University of Northern Iowa provides mini blinds for all of its apartments. You will have to buy window coverings if the windows are bare.11. Air-conditioning. The apartment may have central air or window units. Personally, I wouldn't rent an apartment that isn't air-conditioned.12. Kitchen. Some college apartments, like ones owned by Luther College in Iowa, don't have kitchens and students must sign up for the meal plan. You may prefer an apartment with a kitchen.13. Closets. Having enough closets is really important if you will be living in the apartment with other students.14. Laundry facilities. Unfortunately, many college/university apartments don't come with a washer and dryer. Off campus apartments, however, may have laundry facilities in the apartment or shared facilities in the building.15. Pet policy. Find out about the pet policy before you bring your pooch or cat.16. Smoke detectors. Every apartment should have smoke detectors. Fire exits should be marked and easy to find.Before you start your apartment search, figure out how much you're willing to spend. Then look for the most features you can get for the money.Copyright 2011 by Harriet Hodgson