During week six of Winter term it can be extremely daunting thinking more than a few days into the future. But with midterms, unwritten papers and dreary weather aside, there ARE things to be excited about! The time to look for that first college apartment or house that you’ve always dreamed of is fast approaching. Believe it or not, now is the time to start looking for off campus housing for the upcoming Fall. For many students who plan to leave the Residence Halls at the end of the school year, the housing search is a brand new process. When I was a Freshman I was clueless as to when to start the process or what the process itself entailed. I’m here to give you a few helpful tips. This is the information that every student planning to move off campus needs, but doesn’t know to ask for!
Tip #1: Start Early!
Starting your housing search early is the key to finding the right property for you, especially if you’re interested in living close to campus. The rule of thumb is that after spring break (although many students begin their searches even before winter term ends) is the time to start seriously looking into your housing options.
Tip #2: Find compatible roommates
Starting the search is easier said than done if you have yet to lock down roommates for next year. Consider those who are closest to you and who you can see yourself living with, but beware of drama! There’s always the possibility that you could run into points of disagreement, even when living with your best friends. Living with someone puts a new kind of stress on relationships/friendships so make sure to discuss some “house rules” and cleanliness preferences before committing!
Tip #3: Utilize property management companies
How do you go about finding a place to live? Unfortunately, “looking” for a place to live is not as simple as picking a place you like and figuring out who’s in charge of the property. However, Corvallis has dozens of property management companies designed to help you in this process! These companies are located all around town and can be found easily online (just Google “Corvallis property management” and your computer will be flooded with options). Each of these companies owns properties around Corvallis and can provide you with a comprehensive list of their currently vacant properties as well as explain the steps of their application process. From here on, it’s relatively smooth sailing.
Tip #4: Lock down a location
Once you’ve found an available apartment/house etc., the next step is locking down the space, guaranteeing that you’ll have a “home sweet home” to come back to in Corvallis after the summer. Once you’ve turned in an application for a property, and it has been accepted, there are just a few remaining steps. The majority of properties require: the signing of a lease (the housing contract), a co-signer agreement (for those who don’t plan on paying rent by themselves, but have help from their parents or another source etc.), a security deposit (to cover any possible damages that could occur during residency) and first and last months rent. The details of the requirements for specific properties can be found on the management company’s website.
Tip #5: Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Property management employees know that they’re renting to a lot of first time renters, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t feel like you’re signing a contract by walking into a management office—they’re there to help you! Give them a call with a simple question or drop into any office to get a walk through of the application process and see what properties are available. No one expects you to be an expert! Don’t hesitate to ask upperclassmen for help, and a quick phone call to the parents, the most experienced people of all, couldn’t hurt either.
Follow these tips and you will have a place to call home next Fall! Good look to each and every one of you on your search, and remember to celebrate. Moving into your own apartment/house is one step closer to adulthood and independence, embrace it!