One of the biggest mysteries is how to find the best houses, or at least the ones closest to campus every year. It seems that most students can’t find a home that is decent around the UofA campus unless they start looking in January, roughly 8 months before they will move into that new place!
For many this means trying to find out who their new roommates will be just as they are finally getting used to (or sick of) their current roommates. 10 years ago students wouldn’t start looking for a new home or apartment until after spring break. Today the same can be said, except those students are the same ones who call our office desperately trying to find something within biking distance and are constantly told “we don’t have anything else that close.”
This year GWM has put together a few simple rules to help you secure that great home close to campus without losing your mind.
- Start Early – If you haven’t started looking at homes by the first of February, you are going to miss the best deals.
- Determine what side of the campus you want to live (sam huges, between park and mountain, south of the stadium) and try to find out the ballpark price for homes or condos on that side of school.
- Figure out if you want a house or an apartment…the best rule of thumb for this is if you will only live by yourself or with one other person, then look at apartments (or condos). If you need a yard, want a garage or want to be with a bunch of friends for the year, then start focusing on a house.
- Don’t try to identify all your roommates right away. Instead If you can identify at least one and in the best case a third person, then you are in great shape. Landlords don’t need everyone, but they will want one or two Tenants plus Guarantors (yes, that means mom or dad most likely).
- Get your Co-signer or Guarantor(s) ready! Every college student will need a guarantor because most of them don’t have credit history, a job (that pays enough to cover 2.5 times the rent) or references from previous rentals. This means that a parent or guardian will most likely have to fill out an application and submit it with your application in order to be approved for that house you like.
- Remember – its first come first serve! So the longer you take to turn in applications or come up with the security deposit, the more likely another organized group of students will come in and rent that house from beneath your nose!