For most CU Boulder students, off campus housing means the transition to living off campus and their first exposure to life in the “real world” outside of the structured purview of university boundaries. It’s an exciting time for students. For parents it brings a new set of concerns and worries, but with some planning and a little guidance the process of moving off campus can be a rewarding experience for all.
Step 1: Start planning EARLY and define your needs
In Boulder, planning should start well in advance of your estimated move date. In some college towns preleasing of rentals units starts as early as one year in advance. For off campus housing CU Boulder area rentals starts preleasing about 6 to 9 months in advance.
Start by asking the basic questions and getting on the same page with your roommates or housemates.
- How many bedrooms and bathrooms are you looking for?
- How much can you afford?
- Do you have pets?
- How long of lease do you want?
- What kinds of amenities are MUST HAVES?
- When do you plan on moving in? Summer, Fall, Mid-Semester?
Step 2: Choose your location, location, location…
Get familiar with the different neighborhoods of Boulder and the areas of town. Note the proximity to CU Boulder, amenities, and transportation. Don’t rely on others and their opinions – take the time to investigate and explore your options first hand. It’s also a good idea to browse listings on line in advance to get a feel for rental rates and availability in different parts of town.
Step 3: Get professional help with your search.
Ok, we’re going to be a bit biased here, and we think for good reason. Housing Helpers offers one of the best resources for Off Campus Housing CU Boulder that student can find anywhere. Its a totally free service and our rental specialists are not trying to sell you on any property, they are not employees of a property management company or property owner which means they provide unbiased help to you. Ok that said, normally you would start by identifying local property management companies, apartment locator services, and real estate agencies that specialize in student rental housing in your area. Many college towns have established student rental agencies and off campus housing resources available for students to utilize in their housing search. Seek them out, visit their offices, and get to know them. Ask a lot of questions and use your gut instincts to decide which ones you are comfortable with. Also check with your on campus student services as they may have suggestions for you.
Step 4: Be prepared to qualify
For office campus housing CU Boulder most landlords and property managers will ask you to meet certain qualifying criteria in order to be considered for tenancy. The criteria will vary depending on the landlord and the property. Remember that it is ultimately up to the individual property owner or landlord to decide what they want from a student renter (and their parents) to feel comfortable renting to them- so be prepared, polite, and be professional – you are essentially going through an interview process.
Common requirements for qualifying for off campus housing near CU Boulder rental property include:
- Parental guarantee – this is an addendum to the lease document whereby the parents of the student renters will sign a guarantee of the lease agreement.
- Security deposit equal to one month’s rental rate or more.
- First and last month’s rental payments made in advance.
- Credit checks, and positive rental history verifications.
- Eviction checks
- Criminal background checks
Step 5: Be safe and beware of scams
When moving off campus in Boulder your students’ safety will be a top priority. As student renters are going off campus for the first time they need to be aware of the many dangers lurking in the rental market- and they need to take some precautions.
Popular rental search sites like Craigslist, Zillow, and others have become hotbeds for scammers, criminals, and ghost postings. There are new varieties of scams popping up daily in the rental world. Students are particularly at risk as scammers tend to target college towns with ample supply of rental units and renters.
One of the more common scams is the ghost posting. A ghost posting is a type of scam whereby the scammer copies information from a real rental listing and then reposts it under his own account and contact information – creating a fake rental listing using the actual property photos, address, and details for a real property. The scammer then uses the fake listing to lure unsuspecting renters into sending them money to secure the property.
How to avoid rental pitfalls:
- Meet your prospective property manager or Landlord in person. Never go alone, bring your parents and housemates along.
- View the actual property you will be renting before you sign a lease or pay a security deposit.
- Never mail money to a property manager or Landlord without meeting them in person and viewing the actual property, no matter how trustworthy they seem.
- Do some research on your prospective Landlord or property manager. Google them, read online reviews from other renters, check with your local Chamber of Commerce or Rental Housing Association.
- Check to ensure the property is up to code and carries a current rental license. Many cities require rental properties to pass a licensing inspection to ensure they meet basic safety and habitability requirements.
- Ask a lot of questions. Make sure you understand what costs are included in the rental rate and what is not, understand your responsibility for utilities, repairs, maintenance, lawn care, and snow removal.
- If possible have your lease agreement reviewed by an attorney prior to signing. A lease agreement is a legal document and it is important that you understand what you are signing.
- Buy renter’s insurance. Most landlords do not carry insurance to protect your personal belongings. A renter’s insurance policy is affordable and provides peace of mind should the unexpected occur.
Now that we’ve covered what could potentially go wrong with renting off campus….it’s important to keep things in perspective. For off campus housing in Boulder he vast majority of Landlords and Property Managers are good, hard-working people that are there to help you. Utilize their resources and experience to make your move more enjoyable. And with a little planning and some guidance, students will find that their first move off campus will be as much of a positive learning experience as those experienced on the university campus.