Finding your first apartment is exciting and challenging. With so many unknowns you want to make sure you are making the right decision for you. Once that lease is signed by all involved there is usually very little room to terminate your contract. Here are some things to focus on and think about as you begin planning for your off campus apartment!
Things to think about before you begin
- Roommates and Apartment Mates: Think this one through. Once you and your roommates sign a lease there is little to no room to turn back. You want to make sure you get along with each other. Even having your own rooms and sharing common spaces can get difficult if there isn’t proper communication.
- Where do you want to live? Think about the type of space you would like. Are you looking for an apartment complex or a home turned into apartments? Apartment complexes can vary – and would most likely be similer to 15 West or Colonial apartments on campus. Most complexes have additional building amenities like a gym, elevator access, etc. Houses tend to be more affordable and have a unique charm to them.
- Think about walking distance or biking distance. Remember that winter months will be cold and you may not be able to bike depending on conditions. Your RISD ID gives you free access to the RIPTA – see if there are RIPTA stops close to the apartment. Look at RISD Rides routes to help with those late nights in the studio.
- Look at neighborhoods. Do you prefer living in more of a post college neighborhood surrounded by working adults or around other college students?
- Money: Most leases are monthly and set up for a whole apartment or house. This will depend on how many roommates you are okay with and the area that works for you. Come up with your absolute max monthly rent and make sure every one of your roommates is on the same page.
- Factor in utilities: Some landlords include things like water and parking. However, most don’t include electricity, cable, wifi, etc. Make sure you factor that in when you come up with an amount that you are okay with.
- Consider Amenities: Think about what are some things you definitely want in your apartment – elevator access? Security? Laundry? Air conditioning? Dishwasher? Cost goes up as you add more amenities.
- Food: Groceries or a meal plan. You can still have a small on campus meal plan. This will prove helpful when you don’t have time to cook and need a solid meal to get you through those busy studio schedules.
- Car: Factor in parking costs and upkeep if bringing a car.
- Laundry and the distance to the laundromat if there are no machines in your apartment.