Editor’s note: This guest post was written by Elana Goodwin from Uloop.
Looking for and deciding on your first off-campus apartment in college is a big deal; but besides scouting for a good location and affordable rent, you’ll want to consider amenities, too. The amenities available or offered in each apartment will differ and can and should play a part in helping you find the best off-campus student housing for you.
Here are five must-have amenities you should consider when looking for your first off-campus apartment.
1) Fast Wi-Fi
One of the most important and must-have amenities in your apartment is Internet. If the complex has Wi-Fi in all the apartments for an additional fee, you can be fairly certain that it’s going to be fast and reliable, and will be well-worth whatever the cost as you won’t have to be responsible for getting a router, installing it, and having to pay the bill to another entity each month.
If the apartment you’re considering doesn’t come with Wi-Fi, you want to look into what Internet provider services are in that area and what their rates and speeds are. Having fast Wi-Fi in your off-campus apartment is extremely necessary — not just so you can stream all your favorite shows on Netflix and such, but because a slow Internet connection will make doing homework frustrating and take longer. You don’t want to have to rush back to campus because your Wi-Fi is being slow and you’ve got a paper to turn in by midnight so don’t skimp when it comes to a fast Wi-Fi connection.
Another must-have amenity to look for when you’re considering off-campus housing is laundry. Since laundry is something you’ll be doing once a month at the very least, having access to laundry facilities will make your life easier.
The apartments you look at should offer in-unit laundry or have laundry facilities on-site, which may cost money. Either of these options beat the alternative, which is having to take your laundry to a laundromat, which will probably cost more and require you spend more time doing so as you’ll have to get your items to the laundromat and wait for them to be completely finished.
Having laundry within the apartment or complex is a much-needed amenity and you’ll be thankful you have it when it’s time to wash your sheets or when you’re running out of clean underwear.
3) Online payments
Perhaps an amenity that many overlook is the easy ability to make payments — whether it’s rent, electric, cable, gas, water, etc. Some landlords may still require you pay the rent by check either in person or by mail, which can be tedious and necessitate you going to their office or keeping ample envelopes and stamps on hand.
When you’re looking at off-campus apartments, make sure you know if the rent is payable online in a secured way. Being able to pay online means you don’t have to worry as much about your payment being on time as it can’t get lost in the mail or anything like that, and you can instead typically set up automatic payments on a certain day each month.
Your utilities should be payable online as well, but you’ll want to double-check with the different companies how they expect payment before committing to the apartment. Online payments will make life much easier and should be an amenity you look for while apartment hunting.
Even if you don’t have a car, there are certain transportation-related amenities that you may want to keep in mind while looking for an apartment. Does the apartment have bike racks that will keep your bicycle secure or does it offer easy access to buses? Being able to get to, from, and around campus or the surrounding city is an important factor to consider.
If you do have a car, does the apartment have a decent sized parking lot? Will you be able to park your car near your apartment and be assured that nothing will happen to it? Can guests park in the lot or will they have to park farther away? The transportation-related amenities that come with the apartment are worth considering, especially if you have a car.
5) Air conditioning/Heat
Whether you attend college in a sunnier locale or one with brutal winters, a must-have amenity in your off-campus apartment is air conditioning and heat. You’ll want to have some control over how hot or cold your apartment gets throughout the seasons and should make sure that the apartments you’re looking at come with heating and cooling.
It can be fans in each room, a radiator, individual AC units in the bedrooms, a thermostat connected to the building boiler, etc., as long you have the ability to heat and cool as you wish, so consider this must-have amenity when searching for apartments.
Having these five amenities will make living in your first off-campus apartment much better — and while other additional amenities might be nice, these five are simply must-haves.
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