Finding Your Place
Figure Out If Having a Roommate is Right for You
Answer the following questions to yourself as honestly as possible:
- Do you like to share?
- Do you like being around people?
- Do you prefer to be alone?
- Do you like/need to share expenses (rent, utilities, etc)?
- Do you get your energy from being around people?
- Do you have friends that you would like to live with?
- Are you an efficient communicator?
- Are you able to forgive and move on?
- Do you consider yourself flexible?
- Do you feel comfortable confronting a problem when it arises?
- Are you open to living with someone you don't know?
- Are you interested in learning about people who are different than you?
If you answered "yes" to at least nine (9) of these questions, a roommate is probably a good choice for you!
Do's of Finding a Place
- Do plan finanaces accordingly. As with everything related to living on your own, comes responsibility. Residence hall life meant not having to worry about things such as utilities, cable/internet bills, or large loads of groceries. Try creating a monthly budget to help you allot for expenses. That you won't "accidentally" spend money on frivolous items.
- Do research the property before visiting. Every property has its own unique set of rules and apartment layouts that may not be along the lines of what you are looking for. Researching first might just save you an unneccessary trip.
- Do get renter's insurance. Things happen, and sometimes those things include fire, flood, theft, or your roof collapsing. For a minimal fee, you can protect all of your belongings and have a policy that will replace the items in case they are damaged or stolen. Check with your local insurance agents. They can provide you with a quote and give you more information on the steps you need to take to insure your property.
- Do attend community events. Balancing a class, extracurricular, and work schedule can leave little time for anything else. However, a number of apartment properties plan programs and events that cater to their student tenants. When at all possible, try attending these events. It is a great way for you to support your living community, meet other residents, learn something new...and usually get free food of course!
Don'ts of Finding a Place
- Don't sign a lease without thoroughly reading it. This is especially important for students moving into an apartment for the first time. It is always good to read a lease in its entirety before signing. Remember that it is a contract, and as with all contracts, there are stipulations and guidelines to be followed. You are held accountable for following these terms as SOON as you sign your lease. If you see something you are unsure about, ask the leasing staff and/or Attorney for Students for clarification.
- Don't move in with roommates without establishing guidelines and rules first. Roommate conflict can make for unnecessary tension. Creating a base set of rules within your apartment can save you and your roommate(s) much time and frustration. By determining what the standards are for your apartment, you can potentially avoid future trouble especially since many apartment complexes will not get involved nor are responsible for handling roommate conflict.
- Don't treat your apartment like a public hangout. Your apartment is different from the res-hall. Whereas on campus life meant living alongside your peers, apartment communities contain a variety of people including families, senior citizens, and business professionals. That's not to say that you can never invite your friends over, just be courteous of other residents and keep noise levels to a minimum.