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
  • Food
  • Books and school supplies
  • Commuting expenses — gas, parking, bus pass, etc.

Safety first

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