Students who have experienced dormitory life may be wary of returning to campus in the fall and sharing tight spaces with dozens or even hundreds of other students.
Colleges know this, and they’re taking precautions and coming up with protocols to ensure students can return to campus and still observe safe social distancing.
Students who attend schools that permit students to live off campus have an alternative: renting a home. Finding the right off-campus living arrangement is a matter of learning how to find the perfect house to rent.
Set a Budget, and Choose Roommates Carefully
One of the benefits of renting a house is having roommates to share the cost. Be realistic and stay within your budget. Don’t consider properties you can’t afford just because they’re cool.
Your roommates should be financially responsible—remember, if you sign a lease with roommates, you’ll be wholly responsible for all the rent if they fail to pay. Furthermore, you’ll all be responsible for a variety of maintenance issues—such as keeping the home clean and paying for any damage you cause—so your roommates should also be trustworthy and neat.
Potential roommates should also agree to observe appropriate precautions to protect the health of everyone who will live together in the house.
Don’t agree to rent a place with someone who has a casual attitude toward wearing a mask and observing appropriate social distancing.
Discuss how you would handle receiving mail and packages, when and how often you expect everyone in the house to wash their hands, and how you’ll manage safely disinfecting high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs and light switches.
The fewer people you hang out with, the lower your chance of encountering someone infected with COVID-19. But realize that taking on one roommate instantly doubles your risk.
In some places, restrictions on social gatherings have been eased for so-called “social bubbles,” “pods,” or “quaranteams.” These are small groups of no more than 10 people from two households who agree to socialize with each other while observing strict social distancing precautions toward others.
A lot of other returning students may also be thinking about moving off campus. Get ahead of the game by starting your search early. However, don’t rent a house based only on an online listing.
You should visit the house with appropriate social distancing and mask-wearing precautions to see if it lives up to the pretty pictures online. A visit is also necessary to scout out the neighborhood, to determine if it’s close enough to campus, and to see if any amenities such as grocery stores are nearby.
You’ll also be able to see for yourself whether the landlord or manager has paid attention to the curb appeal and overall condition of the home.
other valuable tips:
Find out whether a professional property manager or the owner maintains the house. Read reviews about how responsive they have been to former tenants’ concerns and maintenance issues.
Consider working with a professional real estate agent who specializes in finding tenants for rental properties. It shouldn’t cost you anything, and the agent can save you time by showing you properties that have the characteristics you want, such as the number of bedrooms and the type of outdoor space.
Find out how you can safely visit the home with a minimum number of people, and try not to touch too many doorknobs and light switches. Bring some hand sanitizer with you, and wash your hands thoroughly after your visit.
Finding the perfect house to rent is hard work, but if you do your research, you may find the best living situation for your return to school.
Image Credit: by envato.com
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