One of the most daunting tasks a university student faces is moving out of residence and finding a new home. For many students, this will be their first time looking at property listings, comparing rental prices, and understanding and signing a lease.
There are quite a few things to keep in mind. What is your budget? What type of lease are you looking for? How far away from campus are you willing to live? And of course, who will your roommates be?
A good place to start looking is online. Laurier is partnered with the website, Places4Students, to help guide students through this process. The website offers options for students to find roommates, look at property listings, and view rooms and apartments that are available for subletting.
However, it’s not just the students that are shopping. Kent Durant, a landlord in Brantford, shares what he looks for in a tenant, “We look for someone who is focused on their school work. We look for people that are not partiers; that’s not to say they might not get together with their friends one night and have them over, but we try to find people who are like-minded and are at school to learn.”
In fact, Kent says, “Looking for a place to rent is similar to heading to a job interview – students should aim to impress.”
Students should also be aware of what types of utilities are being offered. Most commonly, students should expect garbage pickup, water, gas, heat, and electricity. Most landlords will also provide amenities such as a washer and dryer, a refrigerator, a microwave, a stove, and internet usage.
For Kent, providing students with necessary amenities was vital, “We basically wanted to make it as simple and easy as possible for the kids and their parents. I drew on my experiences with having to live with other people and knew what the pitfalls were. There are a lot of little arguments that can come up about whose turn it is to buy the toilet paper or the laundry detergent. We wanted to prevent this by supplying things that are the essentials. So, for example, toilet paper, laundry detergent, dishwashing soap, internet, and furnished rooms.”
Despite being challenging, looking for a new place to live can be a seamless process. Students should make a conscious effort to understand what they would like out of a new home, and what potential landlords can offer. As for advice, Kent has the following, “Start looking early.”
People tend to leave house hunting until March, though that’s when people start getting really desperate to look for houses. Better to look early than late.