With the summer finally here, at JumpOffCampus we have been trying to get a feel for the housing search process and see when students really begin their search. While the sublet market for summer housing is a rather quick process where you can find an apartment one day and basically move in the next, the search for year round housing is usually a more involved process.
We saw an article (http://www.miamistudent.net/news/students-rush-to-find-off-campus-housing-1.2855045#.T6lQpehSSxg) about students at Miami University and how their housing search is getting a bit crazy. Students at Miami have had a difficult time finding enough off campus housing for the population. Because of the shortage of on campus housing, they feel rushed to sign leases up to 18 months in advance in order to beat the crowd! Students at Miami University are required to live on campus their first two years, and they often sign leases for apartments as freshman. One group of students when they were signing their lease even had students knocking on their door yelling that they would pay double. There also were students calling and claiming the 2014-2015 school year already for their house!
So what does this situation at Miami University say about the off campus housing process? The search for off campus housing is definitely not always enjoyable. It is stressful, time consuming, and often times you feel like you are just spinning your tires without getting anywhere. In the case of Miami University, the students there have felt so much pressure to get housing early, that they rush to sign leases school years in advance and once they sign they often regret it, because they have no idea what they are going to be doing two years from now or who their friends will be and whether they just made a good decision or not.
What can we learn from this case about how to go about the upcoming fall semester housing search? Well, the first thing is to definitely start early (although Miami students may be forced to start a little too early). It is important to plan ahead of time and try to secure something, but there is no reason to feel pressure to sign something without fully thinking about it. You should try and stay ahead of the game, but keep in mind, there is never just one ideal option out there. If you know where to look, you will find that perfect apartment. You don’t need to take the first one that comes your way just to get the process over with.
It also is important to know where to look. That’s where we come in! We have now made it easy to sign up for JumpOffCampus without having an affiliated school. That means that even if your school does not use our service or endorse it on the school website, you can still sign up and see what apartments might be around your area! Also, if you are looking for a sublet, anyone from any school can see them too!
Lastly, it is important to work with the landlords and make sure the lease is exactly how you want it. Make sure it is very detailed and that it covers everything you need in order to protect yourself (we will talk more about this in an upcoming post) and that any verbal changes that are made to the lease are written down and amended. If the lease doesn’t address things you feel it should, then speak up!