Renting a college apartment takes some forethought, but it can be done efficiently. Some people even find it fun!

Looking for an apartment in a college town, either for yourself or a son or daughter, can prove to be a daunting task for even the most independent student or trusting parent. With proper planning and research, renting a college apartment can be an easy and rewarding experience for all parties involved. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing an apartment. Read below for some factors that I’ve found most important during my college apartments

The most important factor is location. You can save considerable time and money by walking or biking to classes instead of driving (and trying to find that impossible parking spot) if you live close to campus. But, this often comes as a tradeoff, as apartments closer to campus tend to cost more. This rule is by no means set in stone, but finding a cheap apartment close to campus takes more time and work. Trust me, it’s worth it.

A second factor to keep in mind when renting a college apartment is the neighborhood. For example, you might find a dirt cheap apartment, but it isn’t such a good deal if it’s in a crime-stricken neighborhood. Instead of solely relying on price, try to find a balance between proximity to campus, cost and the nearby amenities. Consider the distance to the nearest bank, movie theater, bus stop or grocery store. Also, it’s important to consider your neighbors. Is your apartment in a neighborhood surrounded by other college students or by elderly people? Remember that when you move into your college apartment, the neighborhood can affect the way you feel about your new home just as much as the price.

You may also want to seek out apartments that take pets. No one wants to leave a pet behind and dogs and birds can be invaluable in scaring away would-be thieves. Another important factor is the physical layout and facilities of the apartment. Is the bedroom big enough for your bed? Can the kitchen fit all of your appliances, such as a microwave, coffee maker, or washing machine? If you have a car, does the apartment complex have adequate and safe parking? If you plan to live with roommates, is there enough space for everyone? These are all important questions to consider.

Apartment ratings can be an important help, too. Apartment rating websites often have a wealth of information about the pros and cons of popular apartment complexes, making it much easier for you to weed out the bad seeds when you’re renting a college apartment.

Finally, how do you plan on paying for the apartment? This can be an especially important question for college students, as money tends to run tight. First, check to see if the heating, electric, water, cable and internet are all included in the monthly rental fee or if you have to pay for them individually. Also, make sure to ask about the average monthly costs from past tenants to see if you are consuming too much energy. Check to see if everything is clearly stated on your lease agreement, including the date of payment and the terms of the lease. As you will be probably living in the apartment for months or even years, it’s important to take the time to carefully read over the contract. This will help you to avoid future disputes with the landlord down the road.

Living in an apartment during your college years can be one of the best experiences of your life. Take the time to think about what qualities are important for you. Then browse through our list of apartments for rent to find your perfect college apartment. Don’t forget to claim your reward for renting through!