Looking to live off-campus near North Carolina State University? The following guide makes things easy by highlighting a few thing you’ll need to consider before living on your own.
Know Your Budget
Finding a great apartment is one thing, paying for it is something else altogether. Unfortunately, many students make the mistake of signing a contract for an apartment they really cannot afford, which is obviously problematic. In order to reduce your chances of ending up in such a situation, it’s important to establish a budget ahead of time.
The first thing you want to do when establishing your budget is to calculate all of your monthly expenses. Remember that your monthly expenses go far beyond what you owe your landlord each month in rent. You’ll also need to account for things like electricity, heat, water, cable, and internet. And one thing you certainly can’t forget is food.
Once you have an idea of your fixed expenses, subtract that amount from your total monthly income. This includes student financial aid and any savings you set aside for college in your younger years. In many cases, students opt to look for part time jobs to supplement their monthly income. If you’re not sure where to look for employment opportunities, North Carolina State University provides a resource for student jobs on their website.
Find a Roommate
While budgeting has its advantages, pinching pennies can only go so far. Luckily, living with a fellow student is a great way to save even more money. Signing a lease with several other people will drastically cut your living expenses, as splitting a four bedroom apartment with four colleagues is much more affordable than renting a studio apartment by yourself.
In addition to providing some financial relief, living with roommates is also great for studying and companionship. Be aware, however, that close friends don’t always make the best roommates, and living with someone else can actually ruin a friendship if you’re not careful. Rather than picking a roommate from your circle of friends, opt to find someone who shares the same values as you when it comes to living responsibilities. After all, you don’t want to live with someone who constantly leaves his or her dishes in the sink if you’re the type of person who needs a clean kitchen.
Think Location, Location, Location
Location should heavily factor into the decision making process when looking for off campus housing. While you may be able to find better deals on the outskirts of Raleigh, the convenience of living close to campus is well worth the price in the event you’re running late to an exam. Limit your search to apartments that are within two to three miles of campus, as this is an easy distance to walk or ride a bike if you don’t have a vehicle.
Know That Timing is Everything
Competition for off campus housing is stiff. Chances are high that you’re not the only person looking at a particular apartment, so it’s important to start your search and sign your lease early. Many people recommend looking for your apartment in late April or early May, though some students start even sooner.