Tips for your off-campus housing search

March 12, 2010

If you haven’t already started looking for housing, START NOW! August may seem far away, but sub-leasing in Boulder is surprisingly competitive. Now is the time to start figuring out who you want to live with, where you want to live and what kind of budget is involved.

Budgeting

Renting is anything but cheap, so the most important place to start is figuring out your budget. Whether your parents are paying, you’re paying, or another arrangement, just make sure to have a rental max in mind BEFORE you start looking. Also remember that additional costs could include all or some portion of utilities, internet, and cable, depending where you live. Hear are some common areas of Boulder where students live and a generalization of the rental prices in those areas. These are generalizations, meaning that there are definitely housing options for much less and much more than the ranges mentioned here. Check out the Off-Campus Student Services Boulder apartment averages for 2008 and 2009 to get an idea of where you stand. For our purposes, here’s what the pricing stands for: $$$$ = $700 +                                    $$$ = $500-$700                        $$ = $500 –

Places to live

$$$$ The Hill – Everyone wants to be the center of the party, right? Just make sure you really think about it before living there. The Hill definitely has tons of perks—being close to campus, easy access to food and shops, and a strong community of college students. But some cons include noisy nights and having your couch as a permanent place where people crash. The Hill is probably the most expensive area for students, but know that you’re paying for prime location. $$$ Pearl Street – As the heart of Boulder, Pearl Street can be a great place to live. Being close to the mall is convenient and fun, it’s a bus ride to campus, and the culture is true Boulder. If you’re interested in the bar scene when you turn 21, it’s awesome being walking distance from the bars —but that also means noisy nights and people crashing on your couch. Right on Pearl is very expensive, but a few blocks out is about average—again, for prime location. $$ North/South Boulder – The north and south outskirts of Boulder have very different personalities, but are both lovely places to settle off-campus. What’s nice is these areas are still a bus ride to campus, the houses and apartments tend to be nicer for cheaper, and your home is more tucked away from everything else. These areas still have great student communities and are still convenient to shopping. The downside is a longer bus ride, or two, to campus. $$ Everywhere in between – There are COUNTLESS places to live beyond The Hill, Pearl Street, and north or south Boulder, so don’t stop your searching there! Many students seek out the Bear Creek Apartments, around 29th Street Mall, rentals in Superior and Longmont, and really everywhere in between. These areas tend to be cheaper and can also provide a nice home away from the hustle and bustle of campus.

I like living in South Boulder because there are a lot of big houses, which are relatively cheap, and there’s an amazing bus system to and from school. – Dori Bland, junior

Who to live with

Friends – Living with friends seems like the obvious option, but make sure to think it through first—and think through which friends you’re living with. Make sure to think about your potential roommates’ living habits, such as cleanliness, assertiveness, and time spent outside of school. Also, try to decide how many roommates you would want to live with. Living with your best friends can ruin a friendship or strengthen it, so think about it before making a decision. Acquaintances – It may seem weird to live with people you don’t know very well, but it can actually be great. Unlike close friends, acquaintances have respect for each other’s spaces and don’t feel privileged to use a roommate’s things. By knowing someone first as a roommate, you are starting with a foundation of respect between you, allowing for a friendship to then flourish from it. A downside is that if you end up not liking them at all, then you’re just roommates. Boyfriend or girlfriend – Before committing to living with your boyfriend or girlfriend, know that it can definitely make or break your relationship and that it is a huge commitment. Couples should live together because both people really want to, not because of convenience or budget reasons. And just because you “live together pretty much now” doesn’t mean that actually living together will work. On the other hand, it could bring you much closer. Just think it through first.

Just because they’re your best friend doesn’t mean they’ll be your best roommate.– Russell Shearer, senior

Basically, just make sure to think everything through before signing a lease. Renting is a huge responsibility, so do everything you can to be confident that you’re making the right decision. A great place to start your rental search is Off-Campus Student Services (OCSS). OCSS offers resources such as the Boulder Model Lease, subleasing agreements, furniture rental information, moving tips, renter’s insurance, a searchable database of available rentals, and more. —Maggie Schoonmaker, Junior, School of Journalism and Mass Communication

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