Apartment Hunting Tips for Parents of College Students

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Apartment Hunting Tips for Parents of College Students

Staff Writer · Jun 16, 2010

Apartment hunting can take a lot of time and effort—and doesn’t always end well—if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you’re searching for an apartment for your son or daughter who’s going away to school, the decision can be even more nerve-wracking, since you want to make sure your child has the ideal college experience. Here are a few tips to help make the search go more smoothly:

Involve Your Child

This may be your child’s first time living away from home, but that doesn’t mean you should dominate the apartment hunting process because you have more experience. Instead, turn the search into a learning experience to help your son or daughter grow so that he or she knows how to search for apartments in the future. While of course you should be involved in the process—especially if you’re helping with rent payments—you don’t want your child to remain too reliant on you, so this should be a cooperative endeavor.

Besides the learning experience, there’s the fact that your child is the one who will be living in the apartment, not you. It’s essential that you listen to what your son or daughter wants in an apartment so you know what to look for. Of course, if your child wants an apartment that’s too expensive, explain how different amenities drive the cost up and ask your child to prioritize what’s most important to him or her so you can find an apartment you can afford.

The Most Important Feature: Location

Unlike during traditional apartment hunting, location really is the most important feature when looking for college apartments. A college student may be used to small living quarters, as dorms are often smaller than apartments and even those are often shared with roommates, or maybe your child is used to spending most of his or her time at home in a bedroom. Plus, most likely your child won’t be moving permanently into this college apartment, so he or she won’t be bringing an entire home’s worth of furnishings and clutter. Space should not be as significant an issue as location.

The college apartment should ideally be within walking distance of the college, so your child can be actively involved in the college community. This is even more important if your child isn’t bringing a car. If you choose to go further from the college campus, at least be sure that the complex is near public transportation that can easily take students to the campus.

Prioritize Safety

Choosing to go apartment hunting near the college campus has another advantage: the complex will most likely be full of college students, who can watch each other’s back and walk or take public transportation with each another. Young adults on their own may be attractive targets for crime, so it’s important that the apartment complex is in a respectable neighborhood, is well-lit at night and provides easy and safe access to the campus, part-time job locations and grocery or retail stores as needed.

College apartment hunting is a little different than the traditional apartment search, particularly since it’s probably your child’s first time living on his or her own. Just remember a few basic tips and you’re sure to find the most suitable apartment available without a lot of stress and hassle.

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