It's time to start looking at apartments, be it either leasing or releasing for the year. Looking for apartments is extremely stressful. With how high rent is, it's hard to find somewhere affordable to live. Not only are you looking at how much a place is, but the location of it. Are you looking for some place close to campus, or somewhere near a bus to get you to where you need to go? There's also the whole roommate thing. Are you going to live with the same people, different people, by yourself? It all becomes a lot when you don't really know what you're doing.
Renting an apartment in a college town can be very expensive. If you want to live in a one bedroom/ studio apartment, you're looking at $500 plus a month, plus utilities. Looking for a two bedroom? It's going to cost you anywhere between $390 to $650, depending on location, and you still have to add in utilities. Three plus bedrooms are usually a bit cheaper, around $350 and up. With rent being so high, it's hard to find a decent place to live. A lot of people take out loans just to pay their rent. When someone's rent is an average of $425, plus utilities, that person is going to either have to take out a loan for the 12-month lease or work. If a person only makes the minimum wage, which in Iowa is $7.25, they would have to work about 59 hours a month just for rent. Add about $50 on for utilities and they would have to work another seven hours. That's already putting a full-time student at 66 hours for the month. When living in an apartment you also need to buy food, supplies, maybe gas for your car. That's all probably around another 200 to 300 dollars a month. A student would need to work another 35 hours just to make a little over $250. That puts a student at 101 hours for the month, averaging around 25.25 hours a week. That may not seem like much, but when you're going to school full-time and taking 15 to 18 credit hours, it is a lot. One thing about apartments in college towns, the property managers know that their housing is needed so people are going to pay the price. Currently, my rent is $435 a month. To live in the same apartment next year, my rent would go up another ten dollars and my apartment would still be exactly the same, no renovations or anything.
Another factor in looking at apartments is location. The location is usually a pretty big factor when trying to find somewhere to live. Finding an apartment next to campus would be ideal. Campus would only be a short walk away, there are plenty of major bus stops on campus, and you'd be closer to activities like football and basketball games. When it comes to location, prices often vary. Prices for apartments next to campus are going to be more as they're in higher demand, even if the apartment isn't that nice. Usually, rent would be cheaper the further away from campus, but again it would depend on what's conveniently close to said location.
When adding in the factor of roommates, things can become more complicated. Roommates affect where you'd be living and how much your rent would be. Maybe your roommate(s) wants to live near campus or away from campus. Maybe your roommate wants to pay more in rent for a larger apartment. Maybe you've had a bad experience with roommates and just want to live alone.
There are plenty of factors that contribute to the stress of having to find somewhere to live. The best thing to do is research and to go physically look at apartments. It's hard, but finding the apartment for you is possible.