Happy house hunting

Tips for finding off-campus housing

After their first year, most students at UofSC live off-campus but finding an apartment can be incredibly stressful: You have to make a budget, find the right roommates and sign a lease among other considerations.

To help you feel confident in making that decision, we have some tips on how to narrow things down and settle your nerves before signing day.

Take your time picking where you want your next home to be. While most places within walking distance to campus do fill up quicker, as of right now all the apartment buildings still have openings and there are rental properties whose listings aren’t up yet.

Things may seem urgent now, but most people don’t end up signing leases until mid-spring. It’s true that more options are on the table the farther away the next school year is, but things may change between now and August.

This isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. There are a wide variety of options available for off-campus housing like student apartments, traditional apartments, houses and duplexes.

Figure out which one is right for you by visiting the buildings or properties. Ask the tough questions, either of the landlord or your future roommates. It’s important to go into this without any doubts and aware of all your responsibilities.

Ask about transportation to campus and utility fees so there isn’t a surprise the first time the rent is due. This will help when making a budget and keep everyone on the same page moneywise.

Compare what communities offer by looking at the Office of Off-Campus Living and Neighborhood Relations amenities chart online. Take advantage of the office’s Community Crime Map to check the safety of the surrounding area, too. Also, talk to friends that already live off-campus to hear what they’ve heard about certain communities and where they live.

Don’t have any friends that already live off-campus? The Office of Off-Campus Living and Neighborhood Relations has community ambassadors who are current students living off-campus ready to offer advice on housing and other resources.

Janie Kerzan, director of student life, says staff and community ambassadors can help guide you, but they cannot make your housing decisions for you.

To get started, visit the off-campus housing fair on Nov. 27 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with representatives from area communities to answer questions and visit the Office of Off-Campus Living and Neighborhood Relations website.

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