Without further ado, back to your regularly scheduled broadcast :)
If you are like me, you can't seem to get your act together with your beloved roommates and decide where to live next year. JT wants to add a 4th person, SH wants her own bathroom and I want my own room, preferably with room for a queen bed :)
The first thing to do is sit your roomies down and figure out a few things so you can narrow your search down.
1. What's your price range? What is the most you can spend on rent/utilities each month? Some housing has everything included in the rent and some have no bills included, so make sure to check to see if those low digits you see really mean you only have to pay that much a month.
2. How many bedrooms do you need? Are a few of you going to be sharing? Or does everyone want their own room?
3. How far away from campus are you willing to be? Do you drive in anyway? So the 10 minute away house on the cheap may be best for you. But what if your roomie wants to ride her bike in? Then a closer bachelorette pad will need to be found. Of course, you may be like me who wants to be able to walk to class because you despise parking like you despise stakes through your eyes. Yes, I will be looking within the range of a couple blocks from the Sociology building.
4. Apartment or House? This is closer to the bottom because it may not be a big deal to you, because it doesn't really matter to me. I would be fine with either, houses are cheaper to rent usually but you have to do any maintenance work yourself and they usually aren't gated. Apartments have better community feel if your into that and are usually gated with free maintenance if something goes wrong.
Furnished or not? Does it need to be gated? Have a community pool? Garage? Lots of parking? A backyard? Washer and dryer included? Appliances included?
It's best to decide what you are sure you want and what you can be flexible on, that way you aren't swimming in a pile of brochures from every reality place in the city unsure where to start. Toss the places that don't have good security or are too expensive. Needing three bedrooms has reduced our search out here in Waco pretty nicely because many places only offer 2 or 4 people apartments.
So where are you living? What criteria is most important to you?