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8 Best Off Campus Housing Options for College Students

8 Best Off Campus Housing Options for College Students

Off-campus housing is likely to be a consideration for any student preparing to go to college. Getting an education is not cheap, particularly when you add housing costs. You could choose to live in a college dorm, but that often is not a great option for a few reasons.

Off campus housing gives you more independence, but it often comes at a cost many students cannot afford.  However, living off-campus offers more options than you might think. It is a good idea to search the neighborhoods to select the best neighborhood to reside in.

Finding an Off-Campus Housing Option

If you are looking for an off-campus housing option, you can start by checking with your school’s housingoff campus housing office. They might have a list of apartments or houses that are available for rent or lease. You can also search online or contact real estate agents to see if they have any listings that fit your needs. It is a good idea to work with a Realtor who will be able to point out any red flags with the property.

Once you have found an apartment or house, it is important to research the property and make sure it is a good fit for you. It is also important to consider your budget and what amenities are important to you. Other housing options near college campuses are condo communities. Living in a condo will have rules and there are pros and cons of living in a community with an HOA.

There are investors who own college rental property. Some of these properties get rented quickly due to word of mouth. Remember, when choosing off-campus housing, be sure to consider all your options before making a decision.

Choosing Between Off-Campus Housing and a Dorm Room

While you might expect living off-campus to be more expensive than a dormitory, it is not necessarily the case. You might be surprised to find it’s cheaper to live in an apartment, though you will have more responsibilities and hassles.

There is not only the rent to consider, other expenses might include:

You will also often be paying for the apartment when you do not need it. Most landlords require the students to pay for the apartment for the entire year. Dorm contracts will be for 9 months, but in an apartment are likely to be a year lease. You will need to factor in the cost of living, not just the rent.

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Choosing your Apartment

Some campus accommodations will offer a high standard of housing, though often, a better quality home will be available off-campus.

Some questions that you may want to consider when considering off-campus housing include the following:

  • How much will you spend to live in a decent-quality apartment?
  • Is the apartment located in a safe neighborhood?
  • Will you need roommates, and how many, to afford the apartment?
  • Is the apartment close enough to campus?
  • What kind of transportation will be needed to gain access to the campus?
  • How many bedrooms do you need? It may depend upon the number of roommates.

Dealing with More Responsibility

There are more responsibilities with off-campus housing that you might not be used to. Additional responsibilities will include the following:

  • Rent will need to be paid in a timely manner.
  • It will be the student’s responsibility to shop for groceries and prepare meals.
  • The apartment will need to be kept clean
  • These living expenses will need to be done within your budget

Dealing with Difficult Roommates with Off Campus Housing

off campus housingSharing with someone in a dorm can be challenging enough, but there can be more issues with an apartment or a condo. You might have to deal with neighbor or roommate disputes without the help of a resident assistant that would help mediate in a dormitory.

You will need to agree to share rent payments, cleaning duties, and other responsibilities. Even if you reach an agreement on this, there could still be problems ahead.

While living in an apartment does have its challenges, it can be a cheaper and more manageable option than living in a dorm. It is important to consider all your options when looking for off-campus housing.

Off Campus Living Options

If you can afford an apartment, perhaps thanks to part-time work, you might find some apartments that offer a discount for students. Be sure to inquire with the landlord of they offer any discounts for student housing. Though for many students, the cost of renting an apartment will be out of their reach.

Even if you are on a lower budget, there are still options to help you avoid living in a dorm.

Sharing with a Roommate or Roommates

There are budget-friendly housing options for students. Living in an apartment offers you some freedom that dorms simply do not. But this can mean finding someone you will get on well with to share the rent. If you have a friend or relative living nearby, sharing with them should remove some of the potential downsides.

off campus housingMultiple roommates may reduce the amount of rent per student. There are some properties that have up to five bedrooms and allow each student the room to be able to study and get rest during the college years.

Roommates can divide up the responsibility of cleaning, cooking, and grocery shopping. There are also apps that students can use such as Instacart and Doordash to have food delivered online. It is pricy but is helpful in a pinch.

Living with others is a good idea for students as it helps them to deal with the real world as problems do arise. This living scenario can help them to learn how to negotiate with others and get along.

Finding a Separate Room to Rent

Check local newspapers and bulletin boards for people offering spare rooms to students. Some people may offer a room in exchange for work. Though, before agreeing, you should make sure you find out as much as possible about the offer and the landlord. Sometimes professors might offer board in exchange for running errands and completing other work on their behalf.

Room and Board

A good way to cut your living expenses is to do a job that offers accommodation. There are many different job possibilities available that could include room and board. Perhaps someone is looking for a part-time nanny, handyman, housekeeper, children’s tutor, cleaner, bar staff, and more.

There are other advantages to this type of arrangement beyond just saving money on living expenses. Evenoff campus housing though this job might not be close to your chosen career path, it will give you experience. After college, this employer can be a reference to help you start your career as long as you do a good job for them.

There can be downsides to a room and board arrangement, however. If you do not do a good job, and your employer wants to bring in someone else, you will have to find a new place to live. This could mean you have to find new accommodation at short notice.

This type of work is often temporary. This could once again mean you need to search for somewhere else, and perhaps in the middle of a semester.

If you decide to look for this type of accommodation, you do need to take some precautions. You want to be sure of the situation you are getting into, ask questions, and get a background check on the homeowner if you have any concerns. If you can bring a friend or family member along, they might notice something or ask questions you would not think of.

Final Thoughts

As a student, you do not have to live in a dormitory, and off-campus accommodation is a better choice for many reasons. Even if the costs involved are more than you have budgeted for, there are other ways to avoid living in a dorm room. Regardless of what kind of housing you decide on, it is a good idea to perform your due diligence before you make your final decision.

Finding employment that includes accommodation can help you build your work experience, give you references, and help you learn new things. Though you might think you’ve found the perfect room and board arrangement, make sure you get as much information about the offer as you can before you agree.

It is important to do your research before you make a decision regarding your off-campus housing. It is also worth speaking with friends, family members, and other students about their experiences living off-campus.

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