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So you’ve decided to take your first big step out into the real world and find your own apartment. Congratulations! The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers many options for on campus rentals, but if you’re feeling a little clueless on what to look for, here are eight things to consider when looking for apartments.

  1. How Long Will it Take You to Get to Class?

    alarm clock in apartment

    When you sleep through your alarm and have to rush out the door because you swear it never went off, you’ll need to know how long it will take you to get to class. How will you get there? Will you need a car? If so, does your apartment offer a parking space for you or for visitors? Your family will be glad you asked this when they come to visit from out of town.

  2. What’s the Area Like?

    aerial view of apartments

    Something you never consider until you’re out of food and toiletries is where the nearest grocery store is. How late are they open? Also, be sure to check the crime rates in your area. You can get to know your neighbors and the answers to these questions by using the Nextdoor app. This app let’s you chat with other people in the area and gain tips on what’s happening around you. It’s free an easy to sign up.

  3. What’s the Value?

    stacked money in apartment

    Ask yourself if the apartment you’re looking at is worth the price you’re paying. Studios can be a cheap option and offer a ton of space, but if you’re going to have friends over, keep in mind your bedroom may also be your living room. One bedroom apartments offer more privacy if you’re willing to pay a little extra and remember, rent is cheaper when split between two or more people.

  4. What’s the Layout?

    studio apartment layout

    Look at the apartment and see if it’s big enough to fit all of your stuff. Check the measurements of doors and furniture to make sure everything will fit when moving in. You may find you have to leave some things behind and live with the bare essentials. Also knowing if your building has a freight elevator can help make moving those larger things easier, like your couch or that big screen TV you just had to bring with you.

  5. Does Your Apartment Offer Reasonable Tenant Service?

    apartment keys and lease

    Landlords can have a tough time managing their properties and dealing with many tenants. Before signing a lease, you want to make sure the apartment you are living in has stable management. Ask other residents how responsive your landlord is to maintenance problems. Will your landlord complete any necessary repairs themselves or have to call someone in? Getting to know your landlord and having a friendly rapport with them can make your overall living experience much more pleasant.

  6. Are Utilities Included?

    running faucet in apartment

    Can you survive without water and electricity? How about heating and AC? Finding a place that has these utilities included can save you a headache and a lot of extra paperwork from different bill companies. Most water heaters need to be replaced every 8 to 12 years so be sure to ask your landlord about that before winter comes along.

  7. What Appliances are Included?

    apartment laundry room

    Most apartments will include a refrigerator and stove, so a good thing to know is how long they have been there. Typically, your apartment will not be equipped with its own washer and dryer, so check to see if there is a laundry room available in your building. If not, find the nearest laundry mat and don’t wait until you go back home so your mom can do your laundry for you. Don’t worry, it really isn’t that hard.

  8. Pre-existing repair problems.

    crack in apartment wall

    Look for any noticeable signs of mold or pest infestations. Do the faucets work? Are there any cracks in the roof or walls? If you locate these things prior to moving in, be sure to take photos with time stamps so you are not held responsible for any damages.

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