As a college student at The University of Akron, dorm life is ok at first. But sooner or later, it comes time to find a house or apartment off campus. The only problem is that you’re new to this and you have questions. Don’t worry, we are here to help!
Moving off campus can be a very confusing process to successfully navigate. However, in the end, the benefits are huge. You will quickly realize that living with friends will not only provide amazing memories, but you will also save a ton of money! In this blog post I will give you 6 easy steps (and a few insider tips) that will help you find an amazing off campus home at The University of Akron.
Before we get started, I want you to know that the off campus housing market at The University of Akron is extremely competitive. There are very few nice homes in great locations and of course, this is what you are looking for, along with every other student. Because of this, timing is everything. So, if you snooze you lose, as they say. We begin showing houses typically around November 1st for students looking to move in the following Fall Semester (August 15). Our very best properties will likely be taken in the first week or two of November. This comes as a huge surprise to many underclassmen still living in the dorms. Unfortunately, if you wait until spring semester to start your search, you will likely be forced to settle for a property that isn’t as nice or is further from campus than you really want to be. If you ignore everything else, this would be the number one tip I could offer you – start early!
1) Choosing Your Roommates
Deciding who you are going to live with could easily be considered the most stressful part of moving off campus. Sometimes this can even create a bit of drama amongst friends. The trick is finding roommates that you are extremely compatible with, which surprisingly might not be your best friend. Everyone should also have clear expectations of what to expect from each other. The only way to accomplish this is by having an open and honest conversation, discussing exactly what is most important to you when it comes to your living arrangement. I have written a separate blog post with conversation topics that could be helpful to discuss with future roommates and it can be found here. The areas that cause the most common disagreements are cleanliness, visitors (other friends, boyfriends, girlfriends), food and money. Make sure you talk about these topics (and others) before you decide who you will be living with.
2) Getting Your Parents on Board
Once you have everyone in your group committed to finding a house or apartment off campus, the next step is getting your parents on board. Each roommate will need their own parental co-signer to guarantee the lease agreement. It’s best to make sure that all parents are aware of this before you start looking at properties. It is all too common that a group will fall in love with a house or apartment and then find out they can’t complete the leasing process because one of the roommates doesn’t have a cosigner. Don’t let this happen to you!
3) Be Financially Prepared
Moving off campus is a big deal. And like most things in life, it takes some money to make it happen. Landlords will be asking for you to show your commitment by not only asking you to fill out an application and sign a lease, but also by putting money down as an application fee and security deposit. Application fees can range from $50 to $150 per person. The application fee is generally collected when you turn in the application. A security deposit will be collected when you sign the lease and is usually an amount equal to one month’s rent. Rents for off campus houses and apartments at The University of Akron generally range from $350 to $550 per bedroom, which means that security deposits are generally equal to the same amount. For a complete breakdown of off campus prices and how to save money read this. You will need to make sure all of your roommates have roughly $400 to $600 ready to secure your house or apartment. Most college kids don’t have access to that kind of coin, so it’s important that parents are involved in this as well.
4) Location, Location, Location
At this point, you have a great group of roommates and everyone is prepared to start looking at houses and apartments. Your next step is to decide what area you want to live in. I have marked on the map below the student neighborhood that surrounds the South and East sides of campus at The University of Akron. This neighborhood is nearly 100% occupied by students. Some students will choose to live beyond this area, but you will greatly increase your odds of not having other students as neighbors and you will also likely be outside of the University of Akron Police Department’s regular patrol area.
Another consideration is if you will be walking or driving to class. It is always nice to be close enough that you can walk or ride your bike to class on a sunny day. Being on the Roo Express Shuttle route (see map below) is also something to think about. This is super convenient on rainy and snowy days when you don’t want to walk or drive. I suggest you take these maps and do some exploring. Take a look around the neighborhood and decide which areas would suit you best.
5) Schedule House Tours
If you’re like me and you love looking at houses, then this is where the real fun begins. You will want to do some research online and find a house that you like and has the number of bedrooms needed to fit your group. Most companies that rent to students at the University of Akron will organize their website and allow you to search their properties by the number of bedrooms. Our website at www.RooTownRentals.com includes everything you will need including pictures, floor plans, maps and pricing. Write down a couple of property addresses that are of interest and give us a call or text (330-571-0263). We typically ask that you schedule a tour on weekdays between 2pm and 7pm at a time that works for all roommates.
6) Decision Time
You have looked a several houses and now its time to decide on a property that everyone in your group is happy with. I always recommend trying to make a decision as quickly as possible after touring the property. Keep in mind that you are not the only group that may be considering that particular property. If you wait several days after taking your tour to tell your future landlord that you are interested in the property he may have already rented it to another group. Then the process begins all over again. Don’t let this happen to you!
7) Sign the Lease
Now that you have found a great place to live you will want to sign your lease agreement as quickly as possible to guarantee that your house won’t be rented to another group. Here at Roo Town Rentals we know that you are probably pretty new to renting houses so we schedule extra time to review and explain the entire lease to our new tenants. This will allow you to become very comfortable with the documents you are about to sign. You will then need to get the lease signed by your parents as a guarantor.
Congratulations! You just rented a great house. Now it’s time to relax and breathe easy because you know that next year is going to be awesome. Great house, great friends and great memories are just around the corner!
Questions? Call or Text (330-571-0263) me and I am happy to help!