The checklist for living off-campus isn’t limited to things like how much the rent is and the close the apartment or house is to the university. In order to ensure a safe and comfortable living arrangement, all other aspects have to be considered before signing a lease.
No matter where you decide to live, it’s best to consider what’s close to the property and what transportation is available. If there are restaurants or shopping centers within walking distance, or relatively close by, it’ll be easier for you to buy what you need. However, it’s important to also consider forms of public transportation.
As far as the actual property goes, it’s critical to pay attention to the actual building and the lease. Always visit the apartment in person as opposed to simply viewing pictures and reading descriptions; this allows you to see if the place is in good enough condition to live in, and make sure you feel safe. It’s dangerous to decide on a place without knowing if you are fully comfortable with the apartment, landlord, and neighborhood. As far as the lease, read through it thoroughly and carefully. If you have any questions at all, or don’t understand something, it’s critical to ask questions to avoid being locked into a bad situation. As a safety net, it’s also a good idea to get everything in writing, from a hard-copy of the lease to paper copies of any repair requests, in order to avoid possible disputes.
In terms of roommates, it goes without saying that you should choose roommates that will be able to pay their fair share of rent; and that there is no conflict between roommates. This makes the off-campus experience better. Something that should also be thought about is the possibility of getting renter’s insurance, if it isn’t already required; this also functions as a safety net in order to make sure you are covered in case of fire, theft, or any sort of damage.