First off, congratulations on your acceptance into graduate school! It’s going to be a wonderfully unique time of your life.
You will be working long, strange hours. You’re in what can sometimes be a weird kind of transition phase between student and working professional.
Life might become a bit chaotic. But, in and amongst the chaos, you can have the perfect place of refuge. A place to study, and a place to relax.
We are, of course, talking about your dream apartment – equipped with the perfect college roommate.
And we’re going to tell you exactly how to find it.
Guide To Find Your Dream Apartment For Graduate School
Apartment hunting for the right college rental can be overwhelming. Off-campus housing options can be vast and vary hugely in terms of quality.
So, let’s try to narrow down your search a bit with the following guide to finding your dream apartment for graduate school.
Establish a “moving in” budget and determine the cost of living
Budgeting is of utmost importance in graduate school. The first step is to determine how much money you are willing (or able) to spend each month.
Once you have the starting figure, subtract your living costs. You can determine your average living costs by checking previous bank statements to see how much you usually spend each month (over and above rent).
Next, you need to subtract hidden “moving-in costs”. These include things like the initial moving-in deposit. If the place is unfurnished, you will have to factor in the cost of furniture as well.
You will also need to spend money on stocking up on the essentials. For example, things like cleaning products, décor, or kitchen essentials are all important initial investments.
Once you have subtracted all these costs, you will be left with the amount you can spend on rent. This will determine what college rental options are available to you within your means.
How to look for apartments
Once you have a budget in mind, you can start browsing available off-campus housing. There are plenty of listings and platforms on the internet for this.
Listings with pictures will give you the best idea of the quality of each apartment. As a graduate student, keep in mind that you need to look for a college rental close to your campus.
Once you have a shortlist, go and look at the places in person before you commit to one! Pictures can hide a multitude of flaws.
How to negotiate with your landlord
Negotiating with a landlord can be tricky, particularly if there is a lot of interest in your preferred spot.
You need to make your landlord view you as the ideal tenant. They do not want to leave their investment in the hands of someone that could devalue their property or miss out on rent.
Provide evidence of a good credit history. Mention that you are tidy and respectful of others.
If you need to negotiate the terms of your college rental do the following:
- Understand what you are entitled to in terms of the lease agreement.
- Have a plan. Consider the landlord’s potential responses and prepare some counterpoints.
- Remain flexible – compromise is at the core of every good negotiation!
- Be assertive, don’t allow yourself to be bullied, but remain respectful and calm.
- Ask questions until you fully understand what you are agreeing to.
If you have any cash to spare, consider taking out renters’ insurance. This will cover you against any unforeseen costs resulting from accidental damage to the property.
The average renter’s insurance for off-campus housing will cost you around 16$ a month.
Furnishing your new apartment
If you are renting a pace that is unfurnished, be sure to budget for furniture.
There are probably loads of beautiful second-hand items that you can find online in your area. Don’t be afraid to shop around and thrift some of your furniture to save some money. Browse Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for great furniture deals to turn your college rental into a home.
To Roommate Or Not To A Roommate? That Is The Question.
Committing to a college roommate can be hit or miss. That being said, it is usually a good idea to take the risk. Regular social interaction is important for mental health and a roommate can help you lower living costs.
However, if your schedule requires regular trips to campus where you frequently get to interact with others, you may want some peace and solitude in your apartment. If you have always wanted your own place, now is the best time to give it a go.
But, if you don’t feel like you can live alone, or your budget only allows for a shared living situation, have no fear! There are various ways to find a college roommate.
How to find a great college roommate
As a graduate student, it’s often easiest on the budget to live with another graduate student. Not to mention, another graduate student will have similar workloads to you and will understand your need for peace and quiet when studying. You will be able to motivate one another and support one another when work becomes intense.
Reach out to other students entering your graduate program, chances are they are also on the lookout for a dream apartment and roommate.
Alternatively, search for a roommate on platforms such as CampusRoommates. Specify what kind of person you are hoping to live with and the kind of atmosphere you want to create in your off-campus housing setup.
When searching for a college rental for graduate school, you need to be a bit pickier than you were in undergrad.
Graduate school is going to be full of ups and downs! You want to ensure that the home you make for yourself is a stable, safe haven.
To achieve this, you will need to invest as much time and money as you can into locating your dream apartment and roommate for graduate school.