Are you ready to take your college living experience to the next level by moving off campus? Just as stepping foot on campus for the first time was a big deal, venturing away from campus is a big step and requires a lot of preparation and thought. Luckily, we have compiled the below guide to make you successful in your search for off-campus housing near Duke University.
Before you begin searching for a house or apartment, you should take some time to look at your finances and see what you can spend. Not only do you need to factor in monthly rent, but most places will require you to pay for utilities (trash, water), electricity, cable/internet, and a pet fee if applicable. There are several upfront costs associated with signing a lease as well, including an application fee for apartments, a security deposit, and sometimes first and last month’s rent. Be prepared for unexpected costs that might arise, such as appliance repair or overall upkeep costs (new lightbulbs, etc.). You can protect yourself from some of these unanticipated costs and risks by purchasing renter’s insurance, which you will also need to put into your budget.
One way to cut down on off campus living costs is to split them with one or more roommates. Many college experiences—good and bad—involve roommates, and living with someone can be considered a rite of passage just as much as going to college in the first place. When deciding who to live with, it is important to be open about your lifestyle preferences, expectations for things like cleanliness, chores, and house guests, and establish clear guidelines about who is paying which bills each month. Without clear communication ahead of time, problems can and will arise. When dealing with a legally-binding document like a lease, it’s best to be safer at the beginning than sorry later.
Looking for a Property
The North Carolina Real Estate Commission has a brochure to help you understand some of the aspects of renting in North Carolina. Before going to look at a property, prepare a few questions to ask the leasing agent, including the average utilities costs, the maintenance process, and security of the property and area. Check to see if the apartment or house owner has a preference when it comes to the electricity and cable provider you select.
Between maintaining your academic and social life, it is vital to determine how you will be commuting to and from campus every day. Distance from campus plays a big role in how successful off campus students tend to be, and it is important to know your options for getting back and forth. If you plan to drive, check out the Duke University parking site and be sure to add gas and parking to your monthly budget. If you decide to live in an area that has a bike-friendly way to get to campus, Duke University is also bike accessible. The Durham Area Transit Authority system is also an option, and has many routes that are available throughout the area.