House Hunting Tips
Finding the right place can take a lot of time and effort. Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for off-campus housing.
Give yourself enough time
- Most rentals around the college become available in the summer months (May-September)
- Begin your search 4 to 6 weeks prior to your move-in date, if possible
- Contact large apartment complexes more than 6 weeks in advance to get on a wait list
Impress potential landlords and/or roommates
- Arrive a little early to show you are responsible and keep commitments
- Dress appropriately to show you are clean and neat — no sloppy, stained, or tattered gym clothes
- Show your interest by asking questions about the unit and neighborhood
Housemates & roommates
Because there are a number of colleges around the Buffalo area, chances are you will be sharing space — either a room or house. Here a few key questions to ask potential roommates:
- Will you be able to pay the rent on time?
- How will we share chores?
- What time do you usually go to bed/ wake up?
- Do you smoke?
- What's your policy on parties and guests?
Know what you can realistically afford. Remember to budget for:
- Rent and security deposit
- Utilities, phone, Wi-Fi
- Books and school supplies
- Commuting expenses — gas, parking, bus pass, etc.
Make sure you feel safe and comfortable in your new place.
- Check out the neighborhood at different times of day and night
- Decide if you need off-street parking
- Be sure windows have working locks
- Ask about smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
- If sharing, know exactly who has keys to your house
Inspect & photograph
Finding housing is usually a time-sensitive matter, but don’t rush into a lease without an inspection. Inspect the property prior to move-in and photograph any existing damage such as:
- Broken or cracked tile/ stairs/ floorboards
- Windows that don’t open, don’t close, don’t have screens, or have cracked/ broken panes
- Water damage or mold — avoid anyplace that smells of or has mold
- Leaky faucets
- Damaged paint, walls, or paneling
Ask repairs be made before you move in, and be sure damaged areas are specified on the lease when you sign it.
Read & understand the rental agreement
The lease or rental agreement is a legal contract. Be sure you understand:
- How many months you agree to
- When rent is due
- Penalties for late rent
- Policies on repairs
- Security deposit/ pet deposit