While college is a time to expand your academic horizons, it is also a time to explore “real world” experiences. Moving off campus allows students to learn the ropes of leases, utility companies, and budgeting, and many consider the process and experience to be just as invaluable to their post-grad life as the degree itself. If you are ready to explore living beyond the borders of the University of Louisville campus, check out these tips to help make your off campus housing experience as successful as possible.
Off campus living can quickly get expensive if not kept in check. Before moving, take time to plan your budget for rent, utilities, cable/internet, transportation to and from campus, and food. When looking for off-campus housing near the University of Louisville, keep in mind that there are upfront costs associated such as an application fee, security deposit, first and last month’s rent, and applicable pet fees and charges. In order to avoid unexpected and unfortunate costs like damage or a break in, consider establishing renter’s insurance. Explore ways to keep living expenses down, such as living with roommates to share costs or cooking at home to cut down on restaurant spending. As you manage and track your money, check out these applications to help you budget and keep your money in order.
When looking at an off campus property, first look at the distance from campus. How far away you live can dictate the way you spend your time for your academic and social life, and often the success of the off campus living experience depends on how a student manages the commute. Options for getting to and from campus include driving (which can involve gas and parking costs), biking, and public transportation. The Transit Authority of River City has many routes available in the area and can be an economical option for the commute.
Finding an Off Campus Home
Once you have found your roommates and decided on a place to live, take the time to visit the properties and meet the apartment manager. Carefully inspect the apartment or home, looking at the overall state of everything from the carpet to the appliances. Before you go, come up with a list of questions to ask, including average utilities costs, maintenance, parking, laundry services, and garbage pickup. If you are looking at multiple properties, take pictures and notes in order to remember the details and make a decision later. Remember that a lease is a legally-binding document—do not feel pressure to sign the lease immediately and take your time to fully comprehend it. Before signing, read carefully to understand what you are responsible for and what costs are associated with violating or breaking your lease.