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First Apartment 101: Surviving Your First Year
Student Housing - Posted On 08/31/2017 02:06 PM, Last Updated 08/31/2017 02:38 PM
If you think moving away to college is scary, trying moving into your first apartment in college! I moved into my first apartment my sophomore year, and while I definitely am in love with the freedom it brings, it does bring on a new set of challenges. Roommates, grocery shopping, signing a lease, and figuring out expenses are just some of the many things to consider when moving into your first apartment. Here are my tips for helping you survive your first year out of the dorms!
When I moved into my first apartment, I chose my closest friends as roommates. While this sounded super amazing at the time, it actually failed especially within the first few months. Now, I live alone in a nicer apartment ten minutes from campus. This works better for me. I have found from both myself and other friends that rooming with friends is not usually the best situations. You never really know a person until you live with them, and while you might love watching movies with your friend on Friday nights, you might not like her habit of blasting music until 2 am. I think the best roommates are people you like but are not close friends with.
Your college Facebook page or housing website probably has resources for students looking for roommates. This is a great place to start your search, just be sure you meet with your prospective roommate first to make sure you are on the same page about the important stuff. Here are some questions you should ask before moving in with someone:
Keywords: Student Housing, Rental, Renting, Property Management
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- At what time do you usually go to bed on weeknights? Weekends? While you may not think this is a huge deal, especially if you have different bedrooms, it is always good to keep in mind. If you like to go to bed early, you probably will not appreciate your roommate watching TV in the living room all night
- Are you a clean person? If you are a neat freak, you will not appreciate a roommate that does not know how to clean dishes
- How do you plan to pay rent and utilities? I do not mean for this to be an overly personal question, but a general idea of how your roommate plans to pay rent can help avoid a situation where he/she is not able to pay their share. Do they have a part-time job? Financial aid? Parental support?
- How do you feel about having friends over? It is important for your roommate and you to be on the same page regarding visitors. Do they have a significant other who will spend the night a lot? Do they host study groups after class?
- Which chores do you mind doing? If they absolutely refuse to clean the bathroom, that might become an issue.
- It is important that you and your roommate are on the same page about the big stuff. If you do not end up being best friends, that is perfectly fine. The most important thing is that you are able to respect each other and your personal space.
The biggest challenge that comes with moving into your first apartment is usually the finances. Depending on your lease, you will likely become responsible not just for rent but also for cable, the internet, groceries, electric, and water fees. I personally believe it is easiest to split all costs down the middle, but there could be situations where one roommate might pay more. For example, if you have the master bedroom and everyone else lives in closet rooms or shared rooms, then you might pay a little more in rent. These are numbers you need to figure out before you sign the lease. Consider downloading a money transfer app to make splitting bills stress-free (see below)! I recommend keeping a calendar in a central place like the fridge with a reminder for the due dates of all important bills. Designate one roommate for each bill whose responsibility it is to submit it on time.
When it comes to sending and receiving money for bills, I cannot stress the value of PayPal enough. I have been using Paypals money sending app Venmo since I began college two years ago. It works almost like social media for your bank account. Sending and receiving money is as easy as texting, and you do not have to bother going to the bank or passing a check to your roommate. I go to school four hours away from home, so Venmo makes it easy for my parents to send me funds for books or groceries every once in a while.
PayPal also makes it easy to do good with the PayPal Giving Fund which donates 100% of proceeds to a charitable organization such as Let Girls Learn and the Boys and Girls Club. Any payments through the end of August will receive a 1% match by PayPal. These charities are dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all children. PayPal makes it easy to discover and donate to new charities while browsing, so you should be sure to check out the Giving Fund for more information.
Moving into your first apartment in college is honestly so exciting! You will love the freedoms that come with living outside of a dorm, like cooking your own food and buying furniture! It will take some getting used to, but you have definitely got it under control!
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