To stay in the residence halls
The months leading into winter are a frenzy to find roommates and housing, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed about who to live with next year, there’s no harm in waiting it out —and living in the residence halls for your sophomore (or junior, or senior) year gives you the best of both worlds.
You can go to your apartment friends’ parties and then go home to your nice warm bed, while not worrying about the throw-up ingrained in your College Court carpeting.
Living in residence halls also offers something apartment dwellers can’t take advantage of: discounted Housing Food. College students are busy, so the less time we have to spend cooking our own food, the better.
Most apartment buildings offer 12-month leases, but with the residence halls, you only have to worry about a nine-month contract.
Or to move off campus
The benefits of apartment living are numerous. First and foremost: apartments offer the glorious luxury of personal space. You don’t have to live with the layer of unwelcomeness that descends upon your dormroom when you come home to find your darling roommate with mate in tow. You won’t hate your roommate even a little bit when you both have ample space to walk around or decorate a wall.
Apartments are also better for your wallet and waistline. Dorm food is expensive, and you end up eating ice cream all. the. time. You have to walk an inordinately large distance to get from your shower to bedroom, which is just unnatural. But most importantly, having an apartment means peace of mind. You can cook when you want, bring home whomever, sing in the shower, and drop a deuce—all in the privacy of your own personal sanctuary.
To lease from a big landlord
As with signing a lease with any company, there are pros and cons. But signing with a bigger management company, like Madison Property Management or JSM Properties, has a large number of pros.
Signing with MPM or JSM means you know what you are, well, signing up for. Smaller companies and individual landlords vary. While some are great, others are inefficient, break the rules and can make life all-around difficult. Signing with a larger company ensures a little bit more reliability in terms of following the rules and being reachable.
Speaking of being reachable, they responded to maintenance requests quickly with a plumber or worker at my doorstep within 24 hours. My experience with a large management company was a positive one—they were organized, efficient and responsive, all qualities of a great landlord.
Or to lease from a small landlord
Bigger companies often have so many properties to attend to that they aren’t able to give renters the individual attention they need, resulting in overlooked requests for maintenance or long wait periods.
Dealing with a small landlord puts a face to who you’re renting from and allows the opportunity for a working relationship to develop that can make your home a much happier place. Independent landlords can be much more responsible to tenant requests for information or help within the rental space.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that each landlord is different and some may be just as problematic as larger companies. Don’t be afraid to ask questions on your showing. Many only advertise with signs on their properties, so walk around neighborhoods to find independently managed properties.
To live in a high rise
The two primary knocks on high-rise apartments are that they’re too loud and overpriced.
If you lived in the Southeast dormitories, you’ve had a similar experience to what you’ll find in high rises. Sure, they’re loud on the weekends when one room per floor hosts a freshman grind-fest. But during the week they’re calm enough to get some studying done, provided you have your own room or a roommate less annoying than Skip Bayless.
That brings into play the price issue: They’re expensive, and the only way to get around it is by sharing a room. Plenty of people take that route, but they don’t value having room for activities.
High rises tend to fill up quickly but if you hold off they’ll be offering you deals on units they haven’t rented. So if you’re willing to pony up, one of the better social scenes on campus awaits.
Or to find a smaller building
If you are willing to sacrifice granite countertops and an on-campus location for a homier ambiance, you might want to consider living in a house or flat. While houses lack the high-style living of a high-rise apartment, they often have larger living spaces with more character. Many are nestled in unique neighborhoods, if you can tolerate a bit longer of a commute. If you don’t want to sign in November, many flats are still available well into February.
And the best part? Rent for flats is usually much cheaper than their high rise counterparts. Keep in mind that while quality varies, houses can have structural issues, additional heat and utility payments, and usually need to be furnished, so be sure to be informed on the property before you sign.