The Importance of Apartment Location
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By: Elana Goodwin, Uloop
When it comes to moving off campus, location is one of the primary factors and concerns you and your student should consider. Although living closer to campus may be more expensive, there are many benefits to doing so and they should definitely be weighed during the apartment-hunting process.
However, the importance of apartment location basically comes down to two big key causes: convenience and safety. Here is a closer look at why apartment location is so important.
The biggest reason the location of your student’s apartment at college is so important is because the location needs to be convenient — which basically translates to proximity to campus. If your student does not have a car (or even if they do but will not be driving to and from class), they need to be able to get to classes in a timely fashion, no matter the weather.
Being a short walking distance from campus is a very big deal and one of the main factors students should consider when looking at apartments. Besides needing to be close to campus for classes, there are other events and activities hosted on campus, sporting events, and possibly even jobs that your student will want to be able to easily access from their off-campus apartment.
Your student should research using an app like MapQuest or GoogleMaps how long it would take for them to reach a certain building on campus from the apartment they are looking at — or even walk that route in-person to get an idea of how far the apartment is from there. Make sure your student considers how far the off-campus apartment is from buildings they usually have classes in on campus. Just because the apartment is close to say, the south part of campus, doesn’t mean your student will have classes there — they may still need to trek all the way to north campus, in which case, the apartment is not really that close or convenient.
Additionally, apartment location is also crucial when it comes to being close to other areas not on campus. The proximity of the campus apartment to places like grocery stores, restaurants, laundromats, the gym, the library, shopping, entertainment, bars, public transportation, etc., should also be considered as these will be frequented by your student and it will be easier and more convenient for them if they are closer to these locales. If the apartment complex has its own laundry services and gym, that will impact your student’s need to be close to those services and may broaden their apartment search limits.
If your student has a car and will be able to use it to go to the grocery store and other places, it’s not quite as crucial their apartment be walking distance to those destinations, though being somewhat nearby will cut down on their gas costs and the amount of time those errands will take.
Further, if there is a public transportation or college transit stop by their apartment and they will be using those services, they can expand their apartment-hunting range to be a bit further from campus as they won’t necessarily always have to walk to campus or other places.
If your student is going to be a resident of a neighborhood, you want to know that they will be safe and comfortable walking around, even at night, and if they won’t feel secure in the neighborhood of the apartment they’re considering, they should keep looking for somewhere else to live. That being said, check to see if the landlord of the house or apartment your student is looking at has made efforts to offset crime in the area and make their rentals safer.
This may mean they have upgraded their properties to have very good, reliable locks on the windows and doors. If your student is looking at a unit in an apartment complex, they will want to check to see if there is an outer door to the building in addition to each unit’s doors that has a lock too and possibly even a buzzer so only known and invited guests can easily enter the building.
Further, if there is some sort of outdoor lighting or a security system in the complex so both you and your student will feel better and safer about them living in that apartment, the apartment may still be worth looking into. Location will play an important part in how safe your student feels at various off-campus housing options and will also impact the number of safety features the landlord may have invested in for the apartment.
While location is one of the biggest factors to keep at the forefront when looking into off-campus housing options with your student, money will also play a part. Encourage your student to start the off-campus apartment hunt early so they have ample time to do their research and find out where the apartments they’re considering are located and whether they will be convenient and safe for them to live in during college.
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