Tips for Parents

Six Tips for Quality Off-Campus Housing

PHOTO: The Lodges at East Lansing in East Lansing Michigan,
(517) 333-3220,

For college students searching for off-campus housing, it’s a step of independence that can make or break their next year (or more). We offer these tips to parents, to help them guide their student in the process:

Top Quality Management – Even the best off-campus housing is nothing without proper management, as a top tier management company UniversityParent recommends the properties of American Campus Communities for students and parents looking for property management with proven expertise. The company has more than 20 years of experience and premier amenities that are constantly evolving to meet the needs of students. For information on properties and locations visit

Talk to upperclassmen – Encourage your student to talk to other students who already live off campus. Get a feel for safety, price ranges, convenience and popularity of different neighborhoods. Check bulletin boards and online forums for places to rent, as well as potential roommates if your student needs roommates.

Plan ahead – Don’t start looking for a place to live two weeks before your student moves out of the dorm or has a lease end. Start investigating off-campus housing as early as possible within the local apartment market. Afterward, plan a timeline based on both the move-in availability dates and apartment demand as places could fill up sooner than expected.

Research – Help your student identify what he needs in housing, and then guide him to research online or by calling apartment superintendents and owners of rooms for rent. Consider the following:

  • What monthly rent can your student afford? Does that include utilities?
  • What payments would your student need to make upon signing the lease? A deposit, first and last month’s rent? What is required at the end of the lease to get the deposit back?
  • How long does he plan to live there? Does he need a six-month lease or will a two-year lease work?
  • Does he have bedroom furniture or is a furnished place necessary? What amenities are must-haves, i.e. dishwasher, washing machine or dryer?
  • If your student will have roommates, are they trustworthy? What liability will your student have if his roommates skip out on rent?
  • Is there a location on campus or a job that your student would prefer to be near?
  • If your student has a car, is there ample parking, as well as a well- lit parking lot or streets?

Be thorough – Once your student has a narrowed-down list of housing opportunities that will meet his needs, encourage him to walk through each place with his roommates. At this point, if they agree on the location and lease requirements and can decide where each will room, it might be time to make a move.

Be aggressive – Good living arrangements are in high demand. When your student has found the right apartment or house to rent, encourage him to be available to sign a lease and pay a deposit as soon as possible.

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