Expectation: You are your close group of friends will live together off-campus.
Reality: During the junior year students tend to be less able to live with their group of close friends. This is because some choose to study abroad for a semester or year, others have four years of housing and live on-campus, and those living off sometimes separate from one another based on apartment availability, finances, or lifestyle.
Expectation: You will find an apartment on our database, call the landlord or agent, schedule a visit, and if you like the place, sign a lease.
Reality: Finding an apartment is not always so "cut and dry." There are a lot of moving parts and people involved (parents, agents, landlords, roommates) and often times it takes persistence, patience, and many phone calls, emails, and apartment tours before you sign a lease.
Expectation: Living off-campus is going to cost me (and my parents/guardians) a fortune.
Reality: Living off-campus gives students the freedom and flexibility to find an apartment that works for your budget. Yes, there may be some unavoidable costs, such as moving expenses or furniture, but you also have the ability to spend less than you would in university housing. There are lots of ways to cut costs, such as sharing a bedroom, cooking at home, and limiting in-home entertainment, just to name a few.
Expectation: If I chose to use a rental agent, he/she will be super reliable, responsive, and help me find a place that meets my needs exactly.
Reality: Not all agents are equal. Some are great, personable, and will have a large network of apartments that could meet your needs. Others may not be as helpful. If you don't feel good about the agent or brokerage firm that you are working with, move on. There are lots of fish in the sea!
Expectation: My roommates and I will live conflict-free in our apartment together.
Reality: Conflicts are very common among roommates in college, especially when you are living alone without the assistance of a Resident Assistant or Resident Director. Some of the most common conflicts we see are regarding chores, splitting bills, sharing food/buying groceries, and noise. We recommend being proactive and setting ground rules or creating a roommate agreement. It will save a lot of headaches later, we promise!
Expectation: The shower water pressure is low, you call your landlord to report the issue, and have it repaired within 24 hours.
Reality: You may call the landlord three times without getting an answer, or the landlord may tell you that it will take two weeks before someone can take a look at the issue. Something that is a big issue for you may be considered a non-issue for your landlord. In our experience, "the squeaky wheel gets the oil," so don't be afraid to call, email, or text your landlord, or visit the property managers office to report the issue. You should also learn about apartment repair timeline standards based on the issue at hand.
Our advice is to set realistic expectations for your apartment search process and living experience. It is always best to plan for the worst, but hope for the best. Try to be as proactive as possible while searching for an apartment and handling issues that may come up while living off. It can and will be a great experience!