February 26, 2016
A Parent’s Guide to Apartment Hunting During the College Years
Nearly two decades pass and your little birdy is ready to fly. Their first stop: post-secondary.
As a parent, seeing your teens off to college or university is bittersweet. You’re happy they’re growing up and finding their own independence but, funny enough, you’re sad for the exact same reasons. Some will stay close to home, while others will take on a new adventure out of province. But before they venture off to their first taste of freedom, they’re depending on you for one final assist: the apartment search. Being hours away from home by plane, they’ll need your guidance in their first big move.
Do your research of the city
Along with your son or daughter, start by doing a thorough search of the new city they’ll be moving to. When scoping out places to live, become familiar with the transportation system, nearby commercial areas, and real estate hotspots and values. Much of this step can be done online—you can learn more by reading through the school website, doing a Google News search of the city and campus, or visiting social media accounts related to the city or school.
By gathering some background information beforehand, you’re able to lock down on potential move-in areas, given its proximity to the campus and affordability.
Know where to look
You know there’s a plethora of housing options around campus, but how can you find the perfect space for your freshman? The key is to use a niche search.
A website like Places4Students.com works directly with landlords across North America in renting housing to students, and has an accessible by-school search. You may also be able to find new openings on school social media pages, where current students or members of the community are able to post housing availabilities as they come up. In addition, you can conduct a wider search by looking on websites like PadMapper.com, Kijiji.ca, or Craigslist.ca.
Accompany your teen in apartment hunting
As you help with the housing search, your teens will go into the process with no prior experience in real estate. This is where your knowledge of renting or buying can be valuable.
With your teen, organize a time when you can both visit potential homes—even make a road trip out of it! Be present as they meet with landlords or real estate agents, get involved in the technical paperwork, pass down your real estate wisdom, and tour the city and campus.
Visit the school website
College and university websites aren’t only for student use. Most are accessible and valuable for parents as well, with sections entirely dedicated to the parents and families of students. There, parents will have access to plenty of student-related information, like housing options, campus security services, fees and finances, and important dates.
While the school website probably doesn’t provide a direct link to off-campus rental options, it’s still a great resource to use in learning more about campus layouts, school touring information, and transportation services—all of which are critical in the apartment hunt.
Be enthusiastic of the process
As much as the idea of being soon-to-be empty nesters makes you anxious as a parent, consider the nerves your teen is feeling throughout the process as well. It’s exciting on the surface, but adjusting to a new environment on your own as an 18-year-old is no easy feat.
Your support is most important during this time. Between now and the start of the new semester, your teen will be busy organizing class schedules, staying on top of payment deadlines, and making new college and university friends over social media. As a parent, it’s the little things that count, so you can help by organizing the mover, helping to pack, throwing a going-away bash, or just being empathetic of the entire process.
This article was written by Megan Santos of Jobpostings.ca, Canada’s largest student job network helping post-secondary students find their internships, co-ops, and entry-level jobs to launch their careers. Follow them @Jobpostingsca.