Questions College Students Should Ask When Looking To Rent A House
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Questions College Students Should Ask When Looking To Rent A House

Make sure you're not getting ripped off.

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Questions College Students Should Ask When Looking To Rent A House
Cally Stanich

We all know that part of the college experience is to become self sufficient and learn to handle events on our own. From getting our first credit card or figuring out our taxes, we quickly learn how to "Adult" in situations that we have had our parents there for. One of the biggest steps of becoming self-sufficient is buying or renting a house. Recently I signed my lease for a new house, and here is all the advice I was given to ask the potential landlords.

1. Craigslist is a useful tool when looking for houses.

I know Craigslist has been given a bad rap, but many realtors put their houses up on this site. But realize that pictures can be deceiving. There were many houses that I saw that looked great in pictures but was a dump when we got there.

2. Meet the landlord.

Always get to know your landlord. I have heard multiple horror stories of students who never talked with the landlord, and they turned out to be a creep. I could tell from the minute they spoke if I should rent from them or not.

3. Do they have a license?

Make sure to ask them if they are licensed by the city. It is illegal to rent from someone who isn't, and you could potentially get ripped off by them if you're not insured. Some landlords have the paperwork on the wall when you walk in. Some of the others, you will have to ask.

4. Does the house have on or off street parking?

When living in high traffic streets, it's important to know whether your house has on or off street parking. On some streets, you will have to change the side of the street your car is on every week depending on where you live.

5. Does the landlord do outdoor maintenance.

Especially for people living in the Midwest, we have to deal with the snowfall. It can be a hassle to shovel off your porch or sidewalk. Some landlords will provide that service for you. They will come out and shovel your sidewalk, and in the summer they will cut the grass.

6. Does the house have laundry? Is it coin operated?

It's important to know if the house will come with a washer and dryer for obvious reasons. Some landlords will try to get more bang for their buck and have the laundry be coin operated. Personally, I would not rent from someone who was making me pay for my laundry.

7. Ask for a number of one of their tenants.

Although you are the one trying to rent from the landlord, you also need to realize that this is an interview from the landlord him or herself. They may be nice at first, but you never know what they will act like when they are collecting your money every month. So, don't be afraid to ask to speak with a tenant. We found out that the landlord was ripping off his tenants by texting one of them.

8. Who to contact when something breaks.

I have found that most landlords are on call 24-7, and when something breaks, they are the ones to come and fix it. When dealing with bigger realtors, you may find that when something breaks, it takes a while to fix.

9. Is it close to a bus line?

There is nothing worse than having to walk a far distance to the bus stop when you were a little kid. So making sure that there is a bus line close to campus may save you from a mild case of hypothermia. You never know when your car won't start, and you need to get to your class.

10. How much is this all going to cost?

This is probably the most important question of all. You need to know three things from them. How much the down payment is when signing the lease. The down payments will not only hold your spot for the house, but also will be used if there are any damages to the property like a broken window (Mine was $420). Landlords will give that back after you end your lease if there was no damage to the property. The second is how much rent is going to cost each month. Last but not least, is if utilities, such as if electric and water, is combined in the rent or if it's paid separately. In my case, I pay $390 for my rent and roughly $50 for utilities each month.


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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