A Guide to Finding Housing for the Next Semester

April 28, 2020 Rachel Grier

Finding housing and making your own home is integral to the college experience. In fact, for many students, it’s considered a rite of passage – an essential stop on the way to adulthood. Yet, for first-time student housing hunters, finding a place can seem daunting. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through the process on your own. Getting help from others and learning a few tips will help make looking for housing simpler and even enjoyable. Discover some ways to become a savvy housing hunter below.

Create a Reasonable Timeframe

If you want to find desirable housing, such as a room for rent near Niagara College, you’ll need to start looking well before your expected move date. Generally, starting the search at least a month or two in advance affords you enough time to find a place and get your affairs in order. It’s also easier to find an apartment or room before a new semester begins. By the time a semester starts, rentals have usually filled up in popular areas. To be extra cautious, if you’re looking for a rental in an ideal location, you should start your search at least three months in advance. With a timeframe like this, you should be able to explore several options within your budget.

Define Your Wants and Needs

Of course, it’s impossible to find the right housing if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for. Thus, you’ll need a list of housing ‘must-haves’ and priorities. This will help you focus your search and find the ‘best-fit’ living space. Here are some basic factors and priorities to consider:

  • Proximity of the apartment to campus and your job – what is the commute like?
  • Access to public transit
  • Neighbourhood amenities, such as grocery stores, restaurants, banks, entertainment venues, and parks
  • Budget-friendliness
  • Apartment amenities, such as parking, a fitness centre, study and resident lounges, an outdoor area, and laundry facilities

Since budget is a major priority for finding housing, you should also create a list of the pros and cons of renting a furnished or unfurnished apartment. While both types of housing offer many benefits, making the right choice for your needs can save you money.

Search the Web

Searching online is the fastest and most direct way to find housing. It can help you quickly narrow down your options and save time. Online descriptions and images of rental properties negate the need to tour every apartment or room that strikes your interest. If an apartment doesn’t fit your wants and needs, just move onto the next. Thus, you can narrow your list down to a few choices, and only tour those that truly meet your criteria. Rental websites and some school websites also offer the most up-to-date listings and access to housing as it becomes available. This is especially beneficial if you need to move in 30 days or less. You can even ask landlords questions and set up tours online.

Tour Apartments and Neighbourhoods

Once you’ve found an apartment you like, the next logical step is to schedule a tour, which should also include a walk around the neighbourhood. Not only do you live in an apartment, you also live in the neighbourhood where the apartment is located. So, take some time to explore the areas of your prospective apartments. Walking around an area allows you to gauge its livability and walkability yourself. These tours will help you assess whether a rental truly fits your preferences and lifestyle.