What Students and First-Timers Need to Know about Renting
By john Voket
I recently heard a nightmare rental horror story from a friend whose son recently moved to Boston for college, and was forced to find his own place in a short period of time when on-campus options dried up.
So I went looking for advice for student and first-time renters and developed some great source material offered through the California College of the Arts (cca.edu), which posts the most common mistakes that haunt most first-time renters. Among those mistakes are:
Underestimating monthly expenses - When renting an apartment for the first time, it’s easy to forget to include rent in your monthly budget. (General rule of thumb is to allot one third of your monthly budget to rent.)
Depending on where you rent, gas and electricity, cable television, Internet access, and a phone line are standard items to include in your budget. Also consider the cost to commute to the college via public transportation - if you drive factor bridge tolls, gas, and parking, and remember to include food, entertainment, and school supply expenses, too.
Renting in a less-than-desirable neighborhood - The quality or appearance of your apartment is far less important than feeling safe. Good rent often means having undesirable compensatory factors when apartment hunting.
Bypassing the new roommate interview(s) - A best friend is not always a best roommate. Think about your lifestyle and what you want and need in your living space. Before you commit to live with a potential roommate, identify your needs.
Many friendships have ended because of different expectations within the apartment regarding cleanliness, noise from guests, and judgments about acceptable drug/alcohol use.
Agreeing on what you want and need in your living space is not the only factor to take into consideration when thinking about moving in with a friend; you must also consider if the friend is reliable enough to keep up paying rent and bills on time.
Our next report will provide even more advice to help avoid the most common issues that affect student or first-time renters.