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Welcome to the Real World My Child

Last week, my daughter returned to college. Instead of going back into the dorms, she decided she wanted her own place so she shopped around and found a nice little apartment about 10 minutes from campus.

What my daughter has quickly learned is having your own place costs money---especially if you like "new" and not "used" and you must do your homework before deciding on the best place for you.

Here are some of the things baby boomer parents can do to help make off campus life a pleasant experience:

Affordability
What can your college student afford? Help them evaluate their budget so they know how much rent they can afford without overextending financially. You might also suggest they consider a roommate, who can split the bills.

Utilities
Your college student should make sure they check to see what, if any, utilities are included as part of the rent. Sometimes landlords will pay for the water and heat for a tenant, whereas other landlords will not pay for any utilities. There are even a few landlords out there who will pay for all utilities for their tenants. This is something your college student should know before renting so that they can estimate their monthly budget accurately.

Location
When checking out apartments, check the location. It should be close to the campus so no one will have to worry about the long commute to class.

Credit Score/Background Check
If you haven't talked to your college student about credit, now's the perfect time. They need to know that when it comes to renting an apartment, there will almost always be a credit report and background check done on them. This is why places have application fees, because it costs money to run these reports. Have too many unpaid bills, or a history of getting into trouble with the law will result in your child being denied. Also, you should explain about co-signers. Because they are probably a first time renter and don’t have much of a history, they will, more than likelt, need a co-signer on the application.

Read the Lease Before You Sign It
Make sure they read every line of the lease before they sign it--and it would be a good idea if you read it too. This is important because it will contain the rules that the landlord requests by which they have to abide. The lease will contain what pets they can have, if any, what utilities they are responsible for, how much their rent is, when a late fee is charged, and what conditions they can break the lease, if at all.

Renters Insurance
Explain the importance of having renters insurance. Renters insurance is fairly inexpensive. This minor expense will insure their valuables against damage from fire or burglary. It is especially important for them to get covered if they have valuable items such as laptops, stereo equipment, and jewelry.

With some discipline and organization, your college student's first apartment renting experience can be satisfying as well as a huge learning experience.

Comments

Sharon McMillan said…
Great advice Beverly and timely. We just moved my eldest and she too has outgrown residence and has gotten an apartment with two girls from her school. This will be her 2nd year in an off-campus apartment and she loves it.

She has learned a lot about spending wisely and for that I'm thankful. As for the old furniture that her antique hunting best friend has found for the place...all I can say is they are students with a great tolerance for old and funky!
Pat Montgomery said…
Great advice, Bev. Your daughter will benefit in the future from the wisdom ou are giving her now.

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