1. Take a close look at the condition of your potential home.
Has your house been taken care of over the years? Does your apartment have water damage on the ceiling? Know what you may have to deal with before signing an agreement, and don’t hesitate to point something out.
2. Read your lease.
Understand each clause before signing to avoid any surprises or missteps later on. On top of the basics, there may be some specific preferences thrown in by your landlord.
3. Know what you’re paying for
Different landlords have different policies for utilities and other amenities. Sometimes utilities are included, but often it is up to the tenants to pay the City of Bloomington. In old houses, you may have to keep your water running at low levels in the winter so the pipes don’t burst, which can drive up water bills.
4. Schedule times to clean
Sometimes the kitchen, bathrooms or bedrooms can get messy without you or your roommates realizing it. By putting designated cleaning times into your calendar, you can ensure the dishes don’t get moldy and your toilet gets a solid scrub every so often.
5. Turn off your lights
If you are paying for utilities, it’s especially important to use your energy wisely. Leaving your bedroom light on all day, every day could hike up the electric bill for both you and all your roommates.
6. Set ground rules with your roommates
If you have a specific routine or pet peeves you already know will bother you, like someone taking your favorite mug without your permission, let your roommates know. Letting issues go unaddressed can leave you unhappy and lead to more serious problems later on. Also, let them know if something comes up early on in the year that you hadn’t realized would bother you.
7. Think about how you’re getting to class
Depending on your location, walking to campus may not be an option. Check campus and city bus routes to see if any come close to where you live. People who live off-campus can also buy stadium parking passes and take the buses from there.
8. Groceries are expensive
Buying food seemed a lot simpler when your parents did it for you. Think about what you really need for the week. Put it on a list to calculate what you’re spending and make sure you won’t get off track once you’re in the store. Factor in the occasional treat – after a long week, get those Oreos!
9. You’re probably responsible for summer rent
Even if you go home or have an internship over the summer, many leases expect you to pay for a 12-month period. To save some money while your house sits empty, sublease your place to someone who is staying in town.
10. You’ll feel like an adult
Sometimes it will mean you’ve got it all figured out, and other times it will just be because you realize you’re on your own. Living off campus is a big step toward being a full-fledged adult. It comes with both challenges and a freeing sense of independence that represents a new stage of life.
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