Finding off-campus housing can be challenging, especially if you’ve never had to go through that process before.
You need to find someplace that’s safe and affordable, and still close to campus. And that’s before you’ve even considered the possibility of a roommate you’ve never met.
Where do you even start looking? Classifieds are sketchy, and brokers are pushy.
We’ve compiled a list of handy resources to give your search some direction so you can find the off-campus house of your dreams…and if it not your dreams, then at least something that will get through the school year!
1. Your school’s website
Whether you’re looking for a studio apartment or a house to share with friends, the first place you should look for guidance is your school. Chances are that the housing and residence authority has already done some research for you, connecting with brokers, and, in some cases, even providing listings for students.
While they won’t ultimately be responsible for your off-campus housing situation, your school wants you to be safe, and they take your safety very seriously. They have the experience to point you in the right direction.
2. Facebook groups
Facebook might not be the coolest social network for college students, but it’s still the most visible social network around, and its groups section is a viable resource for those looking for off-campus housing. A simple search of your school’s name and “housing” is sure to bring up an active group.
You’ll find apartments, rooms for rent, houses, and fellow students looking for roommates.
3. Other social channels
Word of mouth is still a great option if you’ve already built a social circle and made connections at your school. Ask around if anyone’s looking for a roommate, or has a place to rent. Social media can be a great tool, allowing friends to easily share your search.
The added bonus of using your social channels is that there’s a good chance you’ll have some connection with a potential roommate or landlord, making you feel a little more comfortable with the arrangement.
Unlike most other options, ULoop has a handy security feature for college students: you can only sign up for your school’s page with a school email address. If your primary concern is that your new roommate is indeed a student, ULoop is a great place to start.
If you’re not fussy about from whom you are renting, outside entities can still post to ULoop’s bigger community pages.
Most rental websites operate the same way and offer the same listings. Trulia adds an extra twist, integrating crime, commute, hazard, and other filters into their search function. Not only is it a big time-saver, it’s also handy cue for those who may not remember to do important research before picking an off-campus residence.
When it comes to living off-campus, the most important thing is to make sure you’re comfortable with the people you’re renting from and the people you’re going to be leaving with. You don’t want any unnecessary headaches or personality clashes when you’re meant to be studying for your finance final.