Five things to keep in mind when searching for housing

There are plenty of things to remember when searching for a place to live during the school year. Students should remember to ask plenty of questions and create a list of properties. Graphic by Sydney Johnson, photo courtesy of Dixie State University.

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Are you fully aware of the hidden fees, amenities and even the reputation of the property management team of the place you are living?

The process of seeking a place to live is long and tiresome. There are most likely going to be things you forget to check, so here is a list of what to keep in mind when searching for a place to live during the school year.

Number of rooms and roommates

As a future resident, you should be thinking about if you want roommates and how many you would want. Having two roommates versus five roommates will make a big difference in your living situation. You will notice differences in space, amount of collective stuff, ability to get along, and even your level of comfort.

“I don’t always love having five other roommates, but I’ve made lifelong friends,” said M’Lynn Suwinski, a junior integrated studies major from Taylorsville. “Sometimes it causes drama, but overall I like having built-in friends.”

According to Rent.com, it is good to keep in mind that having more roommates generally means the cost of housing is cheaper. You will end up splitting both the rent costs and utilities.

Location of the property

Living close to the university offers multiple benefits, but are you the type of person who loves a drive to school in the morning? Consider what is important to you. If you enjoy walking to school, a unit close to the university will be the ideal choice for you.

The biggest difference between living on-campus versus off-campus is generally the location. If you are living on campus it is much easier to make your way to class in the morning, but if you are off-campus you will be better able to disconnect from school at the end of the day.

“I have to drive to school which decreases my motivation to come to campus for a single class,” Suwinski said.

Amenities offered to residents

Do you want your housing complex to have a pool, in-unit washer and dryer, assigned parking spots, or to be pet-friendly? Amenities are not something to forget about when seeking a place to live. Here is a list of amenities to consider when house hunting:

  • Kitchen appliances
  • In-unit washer and dryer
  • Pet Friendly
  • Covered/assigned parking
  • Pool and hot tub
  • Gym or fitness area
  • Wi-Fi
  • Cable TV
  • Furnished
  • Air conditioning

Create an ordered list of the amenities important to you. This will help simplify the process of selecting somewhere to live. Each of the individual housing websites will provide a list of the offered amenities. If you are unable to find this list online, give them a call and they will be able to inform you of what they have to offer.

Property management

Picture this: It is 11:30 p.m. and you just got home from work, your roommates are all out partying and you realize you left your key in your bedroom. What do you do now? Do you feel comfortable and know how to get ahold of your management team for help?

Knowing who your management is and how to get ahold of them is highly important. There will be situations that arise where you need help and the only people who will be able to assist you is the management team.

According to Kanga Property Management, good management ensures the safety of you and others living at the complex. Oftentimes in student housing, the management teams are the ones pairing roommates. If they are inconsiderate and not caring, it could turn out bad.

“If you are having difficulties with your roommates and go to management for on-campus housing and don’t like the outcome, the university can do something about it because it’s owned by the university,” said Kyra Chambers, a senior communication studies major from Tooele who is a Residents Assistant at Campus View Suites II.

This is especially important if you are living in off-campus housing because Dixie State University will be unable to get involved in any issues that arise. Ensure you check the reviews on the management of your prospective complexes. This will be the best way to know if you are moving into a place with a management team that wants to help and give you the best experience possible.

Cost of living

How much do utilities cost? What is the monthly payment? Do you have to pay extra to have a pet? Is there an application fee? Did you know you need to have renters insurance? These are all questions to ask when touring and looking for a future place to live. If an apartment complex is hesitant about any of these questions, that is a red flag. These are all open questions residents need to know the answer to.

According to Rentec Direct, it is in the best interest of the management team to inform you of hidden fees, random fees and monthly costs because it will only benefit them. If they are notifying people of these things they can ensure that they will be able to pay on time and be reliable with their monthly payments.

It may seem like a lot to consider when finding somewhere to live, but remember to ask as many questions as needed and read plenty of reviews. Consider the things that are important to you and really think about what you need in a place to reside in. This is the best way to ensure you have a good living experience in college.