This post is all about the best college apartment hacks.
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Moving into a college apartment for the first time is very different than living in college dorms. Living in an apartment means a lot more freedom but also having to take care of things that used to be taken care of for you. You’ll have to learn about lots of different things in a really short period of time, and doing research on the best college apartment hacks will really help.
Lots of small things will determine what kind of experience you have living on your own for the first time – college dorms don’t count as living on your own – so let’s get you prepared for the amazing and wild ride that living in your first college apartment is!
I’ve had very different experiences living in college apartments and I can give you plenty of college apartment hacks!
COLLEGE APARTMENT HACKS YOU NEED TO KNOW
College Apartment Hack #1: Choose Your Housemates/Roommates Wisely
Before starting scrolling on Pinterest and deciding what your apartment is going to look like, one of the most important college hacks I can give you is: Choose very wisely who you are going to live with. Moving in with your best friend sounds lovely but please, don’t do it.
I moved in with my best friend in my first year of Marketing in Spain and after 6 months living together, we split up and have never spoken again. Does this have to happen to you? Absolutely not! But you need to make sure you set boundaries and limits if you are moving in with someone you have a past with.
You might be very compatible as friends but have very different lifestyles, so my advice is to stay clear from living together and continue having a lovely relationship. It really isn’t worth losing your best friend.
The most important thing is to find housemates with whom you share values and a lifestyle. If you like waking up at 5 am and your housemate is all about sleeping in until 1 pm, it’s going to be hell for both of you.
College Apartment Hacks #2: Question Everything Your Landlord Says
Let’s talk landlords. In my experience leaving in college apartments, I’ve just had 1 trustworthy landlord. The rest were just money-grabbing, bad people. 9 out of 10 landlords you’ll meet just want your money and to stay clear of problems. They know you are young and don’t have much experience, and they will use it to make a profit. You’ll find plenty of landlord-related college hacks, but here’s my advice.
Things you need to ask your landlord and *make sure it appears in your contract*:
Are bills included in the rent? If they are, how much are they?
Most landlords will leave this out of the price to attract more renters. A few of them will include bills in a monthly added cost though. You need to make sure that you are aware of these added costs and they fit in your budget.
How much is the deposit?
Deposits and advanced payments are very annoying for students who don’t have loads of savings, so you need to make sure you know how much you have to pay before signing a contract. I had to pay around 2000€ in advance – not even counting the rent for the month I was moving in – which was just ridiculous. One of the most valuable apartment college hacks: ASK ABOUT EVERYTHING.
What happens if something doesn’t work?
Make sure this is in the contract and everyone is aware of it. We ended up paying thousands of euros in maintenance over a year because the contract said it all had to be paid by the tenants.
College Apartment Hacks #3: Revise Everything and Don’t Just Glance
After the fiasco of my first and second college apartments, I became I little bit obsessed with making sure everything was crystal clear before singing the lease. When you are viewing a new place, don’t just have a look around and assume everything is hunky dory! Open doors, check the taps have pressure, look inside the closets, turn things on, check every single thing.
Write down everything that doesn’t work and negotiate the price if you can or ask if those things will get fixed before you move in. After learning about these college apartment hacks you’ll be ready for the world, girl!
College Apartment Hacks #4: Protect Your Deposit: Take Pictures!
This is genuinely one of the most important college apartment hacks and something you should do for the rest of your life when renting places.
Landlords will do everything they can to take your money, that’s the truth. They will give you a checklist for you to write down any problems you see with the place. You MUST fill this out with loads of details, it will save your security deposit.
On top of filling this out extensively, take pictures of everything you write down, and date them. Even if it’s a mark on the wall, a hole in the wall, a broken chair, something not working, EVERY.SINGLE.THING. Our landlord tried to do us dirty but we had evidence of every single thing and he couldn’t keep our deposit, but only thanks to us researching on the best apartment college hacks and using them.
College Apartment Hacks #5: Check The Area and Read Reviews
There is nothing I regret more in terms of college hacks than not researching where my first apartment was actually located before moving in. It all looked good during the viewing, but after 1 week there I realized that all grocery shops were miles away and I actually got *mugged* 3 months into my lease.
Read reviews on the area and the apartment itself, and if you have that chance even ask previous tenants how their experience was in the apartment. You will be really thankful you did research on the best college apartment hacks!
College Apartment Hacks #6: Set-Up All Services Before Moving In
A few weeks before you move in, make sure that all the services are set-up and ready to go. Check out that your company has good network coverage – one of the most important college apartment hacks for students. Make sure you have running water and all that jazz.
It might sound stupid to include this in a list of college hacks but believe me, you’ll want to make sure you have hot water before jumping in the shower after a very tiring move-in day.
College Apartment Hack #7: Decide Who Is Buying What
Moving in, especially into an unfurnished place, is very expensive. You will need to spend some money but you’ll save tons if you have a chat with your future housemates and decide who is buying what, or if they already own something they’d be willing to bring in.
By having this chat, I saved hundreds of euros when moving into my first college apartment. The few things we had to buy we did together and it really helped. Just make sure everything is fair for everyone and you’ll take good care of the areas areas and things you share.
College Apartment Hack #8: Create a Cleaning Schedule
Everyone’s worst fear and the biggest reason for arguments between housemates: cleaning! Maybe you’ll be lucky to live with people that have your same mentality in terms of cleaning, but more often than not, it won’t happen.
First of all, make things very clear. You should all get together to discuss when and how you want to clean, come out with a schedule you are all happy with and what your pet peeves are.
For example, I CAN’T STAND shoes left around the apartment, it takes no time to take them to your room and it makes the place look very messy. One of the housemates I lived with couldn’t deal with dishes being left in the sink. We all have these little things and it’s important to make them clear to avoid arguments and confrontations.
College Apartment Hack #9: Create a Budget and Stick With It
This is one of my favorite college apartment hacks because budgeting really changed my life. I used to have a very bad relationship with money and it took me a long time and loads of learning to fix it. Reading Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover really helped and I highly recommend you to read it.
Budgeting will not only help you make sure you have enough money to pay your rent and bills, but it will also give you the freedom to spend the rest of your money on whatever you want and need without feeling bad. I have a great Monthly Budget Printable that you can download here for free. This is the exact budget sheet I used when living in my college apartment and still use it nowadays. This is one of the best college apartment hacks I can give you.
College Apartment Hack #10: Don’t Be Afraid Of Speaking Up
And the last of these amazing college apartment hacks! This is a college apartment tip that I learned the hard way and didn’t really use in my first year of house-sharing: You need to speak up for yourself and your values.
There are really mean people out there, who will try ti bring you down and step on you, and it can be really hard when you are living with those people and can’t do anything about it. I have not once regretted speaking up when something was bothering me, but I do regret not doing it EVERY time someone was trying to bully me in my own house.
Ask for help if you need it and don’t be afraid to bring your parents into the situation, they will most likely know how to deal with the situation better than you.
My college apartment hacks belong to you now! I really hope all these college hacks help you and you can truly enjoy the next amazing chapter in your life!