If you're heading off to college for the first time, or you've been living in the dorms, renting your first apartment can be a difficult prospect. After all, if you haven't been through the process before, you don't know what's normal or what to expect. Many students have parents, friends, or relatives who can help them find a good apartment, but not everyone is so lucky. You might wonder if there are even apartments open to you. Let's take a look at renting a student apartment. It's not as difficult as you might think.
First, take a look at your available budget, and get a realistic idea of the apartments you could be renting. A quick perusal of the ads will tell you what the average price range is for your area. Don't be surprised if campus apartments tend to be a little more expensive than the very cheapest apartments available – you pay a bit for location. Remember that you may run into scam ads in the classifieds, particularly online. If you inquire about an apartment and are immediately asked personal details, or something seems fishy, head to another ad.
Make sure to check any agency or landlord out before you rent – they may have serious complaints against them. The BBB or tenant union in your area can help, as can people who've rented from them before. If you don't own a car, look at the public transportation available near your apartment, and what bike or walking routes are available.
If it turns out you don't have enough money to rent an apartment on your own, you may need to consider getting a roommate. This is something to do carefully – sharing a space will cut down on your rent significantly, but you'll have to be able to tolerate your roommates! Think hard about your basic expectations about cleanliness, timeliness and organization, and interview prospective roommates on this basis. If you or your roommate have pets or unusual hobbies (such as art or music) remember to bring these up with your prospective landlord. You'll need to know what will and won't be allowed.
Always go over your rental agreement or lease with a fine toothed comb before signing, and ask about anything you don't understand. Remember that any changes need to be put in writing on the lease, not just agreed to verbally – you'll be held responsible for what's in writing. Take note of any damages when you move in and notify the landlord to have them repaired. You don't want to have to pay for them when you move out. A little care and attention will help you get your first apartment without problems. Just be sure to do your homework before you rent.