The most important question you must ask yourself when deciding to live off campus is whether you should rent an apartment or a house. Regardless of what you may have heard, there are several pros and cons to both of these options, and you have to weigh which ones are most important to you.
Living in a house generally means you will have more space, both inside and outside. Having a front yard and a backyard is something that you won’t have in an apartment. Throwing parties at a house can be easier for this reason, as there is a lot more space to host guests. Houses also offer more privacy than apartments since your neighbors do not live as close to you, which means that houses are usually much quieter than apartments. It’s also more likely that you will be allowed to have a pet in a house, but make sure to check with the landlord first.
Renting a house can be more expensive than an apartment, especially if utilities are not included in the rent. Having to pay for rent as well as water, electricity, cable and Wi-Fi can become quite pricey, as well as having to buy your own furniture. You might be able to find a house whose previous owners are leaving behind a lot of furniture, which could be helpful. You also don’t have a number to call for maintenance if something needs fixing in your house. The landlord would typically be in charge of big repairs, but depending on your landlord, it might take a while for something to get fixed. Smaller things such as mowing the lawn usually have to be done yourself, which could become very time-consuming.
Rent is generally less expensive when you rent an apartment. Utilities are often included in the rent as well, so you don’t have to worry about paying bills separately. Many apartment complexes also offer free amenities to its residents, such as a pool or weight room. It’s also not difficult to find apartments that are pre-furnished, so you won’t have to worry about purchasing new furniture or hauling all your old furniture from home. Although it may seem minor, you also don’t have to worry about your trash can filling up each week because you can throw everything out in the communal trash bin and not have to worry about it anymore.
The main downside to living in an apartment would be the noise. Living in such close proximity to other tenants, some of whom might also be college students, means having to hear the music blaring at their parties or a stampede of loud footsteps upstairs or in the hallways. Another problem at some apartment complexes is limited parking spaces, or even having to purchase a parking permit. Be sure to look into the parking situation before you choose an apartment. Also, some apartments, especially pre-furnished ones, do not allow pets, which could be a disappointment if you were really looking forward to living with your dog from home.
There are positive and negative aspects to choosing either an apartment or a house, but ultimately, living off campus as a college student is an experience you will never have the opportunity for again and one that should definitely be taken advantage of. Weigh your options and see which appeals the most to you, then get out there and sign that lease.