“School!” Shhh, don’t say that too loud. To some, hearing the ’s’ word at this time of the year is worse than hearing a drunken sailor cursing at the local watering hole.
Unfortunately, whether we want to or not, we do have to start thinking about what September will bring. If you’re moving to Brandon or Winnipeg to enter the post-secondary world then it’s time to start looking for a suitable place to live.
Here are some tips to help make your search for proper accommodations go smoothly:
- Start Looking Now – If you wait until the end of August you will have a limited selection and run the risk of not being able to find something in your price range or the neighbourhood you had your heart set on.
- Consider Location – While it might be most convenient to live near your school, you may also save on parking or transit fees by living within walking distance. Also, don’t have blinders on when you’re considering the neighbourhood. Go for a walk or drive through the neighbourhood at night (where the apartment or condominium is located). You want to make sure that you feel safe being there at all times of the day.
- Save with a Roommate – Quite often two or three-bedroom apartments are more affordable than a one-bedroom. For example, there are newer one-bedroom apartments in Brandon for $1,000 per month. On the flip side, you can find a nice two-bedroom apartment for $1,200; with two people living there, each person would save $400 each month (versus each having their own apartment). For tips on selecting a roommate, check out this article: https://www.vhproperties.ca/tips-for-selecting-a-roommate/
- Have a Co-signor – While students may have a savings account or student loans to help pay for school, most landlords screen applications based on rent to income ratios and credit scores. Some students do maintain part-time jobs, but often the money from those jobs does not support the rent value. Be prepared to have a parent or guardian co-sign for the apartment.
- Yearly Lease – Most landlords require tenants to sign a one-year lease for an apartment. In some centres, there is a trend for students to return home in the spring and start their apartment hunt all over again in the fall. In many cases, there is little or no savings from moving home for the summer months. If you do sign a yearly lease and decide to return to your hometown in the spring, you could always assign your lease to another interested tenant. For more information on this, check out this article: https://www.vhproperties.ca/should-i-stay-or-should-i-go/
- Ask about Promotions – Fall is the time when property owners are hoping to fill any vacant units before winter hits. If you are looking to save a few dollars, ask the landlord if there are any specials, promotions or discounts available. If you can get $200 off the monthly rental fee, throughout the year that would add up to a free month of rent.
- Poll your Friends & Contacts – If you know of someone from your area that went to school in the same city, ask them where they stayed and what they liked and didn’t like about their accommodations. They may be able to offer tips and advice that will help you to find the perfect place to live.