/Housing made easy

Housing made easy

As students make their way through college, some have more than grades to worry about. It’s finding a place of their own.

While living with their parents and couch surfing are two of the cheaper options, they may not be the choice for everyone.

Purchasing a home is always an option, but renting can be a safe and affordable choice for students as long as a little homework is done.

Posts for rooms for rent can be found on bulletin boards across campus as well as on websites like Craigslist, but how does someone know what is to be expected of them and even if it is a safe place to live?

First, look-up your roommates. Most court cases are public record and as long as first and last names are available, www.stclaircounty.org/DCS, have any cases against an individual on file.

Second, always sign a lease or a contract. Make sure that it is understood by all parties, and that everyone involved has a copy.

Not everyone wants to rent a room, but rather a house or apartment. So what resources are out there to find that perfect rental?

There is the local paper, bulletin boards on campus and the local area, for rent signs in yards and the largest resource; the internet. Some useful websites are Craigslist, michiganhousinglocator.com, and even Google.

When renting it’s important to make sure that the one who will be the landlord owns that property before any money changes hands. This can easily be done by doing a quick search at www.stclaircounty.org and clicking on the “Taxes & Assessing Search” link.

Now that the property has been found and checked out, what are some questions the renter should ask?

There’s the basics: rent cost, rent due date, who’s responsible for what utilities, trash day and so forth. Some other important questions may be if the property has a history with vandalism, any pest problems, any mold problems with the building and so on.

It’s better to ask too many questions than not enough.

A lease or contract is important here as well, and once again, make sure it is understood and agreed upon by all parties and that everyone has a copy. And, if it’s an apartment building, researching your neighbors can provide a wealth of information, especially if young children are involved.

Christina Stoutenburg

Staff Writer