Transitioning your child from home life to college life can be quite the challenge, and since this will be their first time living outside of the home, getting into the right housing situation will be crucial.
When parents were asked about college housing, a survey presented by the National Apartment Association found the three most important factors included security, the geographical location and rental rates.
To ensure your child is living in the best conditions possible, here are five things to look for when choosing a housing option for your child.
1. Which Arrangement?
The first step is deciding which arrangement works best. When it comes to college housing, there will really be two options: on-campus housing, such as a dorm on the campus property, or off-campus housing, which can be anything from an apartment to a house shared with others.
Try to figure which arrangement will offer the best location and bang for your buck. While it's tempting to choose a dorm room, it can be up to 40 percent more than an apartment two miles up the road.
2. The Location
Generally, it's ideal to look for a housing option that's near the college campus as well as other important amenities such as a grocery store. Since food will be a large expense for your child, it's important to have ingredients nearby to persuade them to cook at home rather than eat out.
If these conveniences are within walking distance, then it's safe to say it may be a good choice. The more options you have nearby, the easier it will be to get around without a car.
On the other hand, if your child is attending a school in a larger city, you will want to look for an option that's closer to a bus route or subway station since it may be hard to find something within walking distance.
3. Inspect the Properties in Person
If you don't live too far from the college, consider setting aside a weekend and exploring a few properties. While it's nice to look at the pictures online, nothing will beat seeing the properties in person.
Try your best to research at least three to five options and contact the community managers to schedule an appointment. It also doesn't hurt to check out the campus options, even if you feel you can't afford it. All colleges will have an information page with the contact information you need to set up a tour. For example, on the official Utah State student housing page, the contact information is listed in the lower left-hand corner.
4. Compare Rental Rates
The Internet makes it pretty easy to figure out what you should be spending for rent in a certain area. If the rent is too high, you may want to research why this is. On the other hand, if it's too low, then you may want to dig deeper to see why. Touching on the last point, this is why it's important to visit the properties in person to see if the rent is truly worth paying for.
The last thing you will want to look at are the crime rates in the area. Crime rates can easily be found via the local police department's website or via third-party websites such as Crime Reports. Pay close attention to the numbers, and use your own judgment if the area is safe or not. Since there's a good chance your child could be walking in the dark or alone, you will want to make sure it's one of the safer areas in the city.
It's never too early to start researching housing options for your child. As long as you do your due diligence, it shouldn't be that hard to find an option that suits your child's housing needs.