Lease signing season comes early in the school year and can be very stressful for most University of Wisconsin-Madison students. Buildings fill up fast, leaving students little time to decide where they want to live, let alone who with. First-year students have not even fully adjusted to campus, but are pressured to sign leases in buildings they have never seen with people they barely know. Here are a few tips on how to make this process less stressful and more successful.
1. Be open-minded
There are plenty of options besides the big-name apartment buildings most students choose. For example, there are plenty of smaller buildings or houses in the downtown Madison area. You should also consider sharing a room with a friend, or living in the dorms again. Many people also sublease apartments for a discount on the student Facebook page. There are plenty of housing options if you look a little bit outside the box — you just have to search for them!
2. Take your time
You may feel rushed by this whole process and pressured to sign a lease as soon as possible. However, you probably have more time than you think. Take a night or two to sleep on it, this is a big decision. Taking time to think about and process the lease you are about to sign will allow you to make the best decision for yourself.
3. Set ground rules before you move in
Living with roommates can be hard, especially if you rushed into a lease with them. Make a set of rules before you move in to avoid any awkward confrontations. It is okay to set personal boundaries. This will get everyone on the same page and make the school year run much more smoothly.
4. Read the lease
I cannot emphasize this enough! This may sound like common sense, but most people do not read their whole lease. This can lead to unexpected payments that you are not prepared for. This can also cause students to be unaware of certain rules of the building such as security deposits, maintenance requests and other useful information. Reading the lease makes for a smoother move-in process, and you will thank yourself later.
5. Do not panic
Do not panic if you did not get the building or roommates you wanted. Go into it with a positive attitude and make the most of it. You do not spend as much time at home as you think — there are plenty of other places to study and hang out with friends on campus.