Guest Student Blogger: The Search



About the blogger: Andrew is a sophomore in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, studying economics and communications. Andrew hopes to one day work in the business side of the medical field and provide medical services/products in hard-to-reach areas across the world. He will be blogging about his experiences as a student searching for an off-campus apartment. 

"Hurry Up and Wait" 

In late August, as I sat in my room at home and relished in the waning moments of summer, a text from my friend popped up on my phone: “Hey we need to find a house ASAP.” For me, the summer didn’t end with the beginning of classes, but rather with that one text. It marked the beginning of my process of finding off-campus housing.

Why in the world do we need to start looking for an apartment before we’ve even settled into our sophomore rooms? I call this phenomenon the ‘Realtors Rush.’ Rental agents are aware of how important it is to college students that they get the apartments they want, and they capitalize on the opportunity. 

When we first reached out to an agent they gave us few addresses based on the size of our group, and informed us that we must reserve a place by the end of the week or else it'll be taken by another nameless group of students. Whether or not this was true, it created a sense of urgency for me and me friends. But although we felt pressured, we made sure to perform our due diligence with the property, process, and the realtor before we rushed into something that we may later regret.

As part of my research into the process, I attended the off-campus housing information session and held many conversations with my parents. And since I have four-years of guaranteed on campus housing I also made an excel spreadsheet to map out a monthly cost comparison chart of living on campus versus off. After careful consideration, I ultimately decided to move forward with finding an off-campus apartment for my junior year.

Seven of my friends and I wanted to live together, so we searched through houses that could accommodate all of us. Ultimately we found a home within walking distance to campus that was divided into two separate units (four on the top floor unit and four on the bottom floor unit).

After touring the house and discussing options and costs with our families, we moved forward with our real estate agent to put down a refundable deposit of the first month's rent while we filled out the rental application and co-signers paperwork. Once our materials were approved by the landlord we received copies of the leases (one for each unit) from our agent. We reviewed the leases with our families and finally decided to sign! 

As part of our agreement, we are on a payment plan over the next few months to put down the remainder of the upfront costs. In October of this year (2015) we will pay the last months rent, in November we pay the security deposit, and in December we pay the agent fee. Then, our next payment will not be until October of next year (2016) to cover that month's rent.

Now, we just wait until we move in next fall!

In order have confidence in your choice of apartment or house, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Begin the search process by checking the listings at bc.edu/offcampushousing
  • Make a cost analysis comparing living on-campus and off-campus 
  • Involve your parents as much as possible; save yourself the stress of trying to convince them of anything at the last minute!
  • You may feel pressure to a reserve a house/apartment early, but don't skip out on doing your research first
  • If you have have a group of  more than four people, find apartments/houses that are divided into separate units 
  • Start learning about the search process as soon as you can. The more information you have, the easier the process will be
  • If you have four or less people, you really don't need to rush into anything! There are tons of options for a small group and they’ll mostly be available throughout the year
  • Attend an info session held by the Off-Campus Housing Office
  • Have all prospective tenants visit the unit and inspect the conditions
  • Due your due diligence and contact the off-campus housing before any big or rush decisions
More on my experience to come soon!

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