Jan 222012
Authors: Sabrina Norwood

The spring semester not only brings the stress of starting school again, but it can also create anxiety in students searching for off-campus housing for the following year.

“For some reason, many students believe that in late-January, early-February they need to be signing a lease,” said Jeannie Ortega, director of Off-Campus Life at CSU. “That is not always the case.”

While students may feel pressure or rushed to find a solution for their habitation next year, many places offer support and help specifically for students who are first-time buyers and renters.

Off-Campus Life, located in room 195 in the Lory Student Center, can be a useful resource. They offer roommate contracts and agreements that students can use, and they host frequent housing fairs.

“I have started looking for housing next year,” said freshman engineering major Nick Sianta. “My future roommates and I have been looking online.”

The selection process may take a few weeks to a few months. Many large real estate companies find their big rush February through May.

“Companies begin showing properties at different times,” said Nicole Hanson, owner of KEVCO, a real estate company based in Fort Collins. “Once you’ve decided what you want out of a home, review available properties online and make a list of your favorite addresses. Call early in February to schedule a showing.”

Although showings begin in February, many housing units do not have an open space until August. Many landlords renting houses prefer the tenants sign the lease and move in within the same month.

“It is important to do a thorough search when looking for housing,” Ortega said. “Do not just sign a lease at the first place you visit.”

Many students have encountered problems with renting homes or apartments.

“My only fear with renting a house is that me, or my roommates, might do something stupid and not get our deposit back,” Sianta said.

Other students share Siana’s fears.

“Being a good tenant is much more than paying rent on time. It’s important to take care of the home as if it was your own,” Hanson said.

“The largest complaint I get with students as renters are noise ordinance violations,” Ortega said. “Or we hear of conflicts with neighbors.”

Students are encouraged to contact Off-Campus Life or KEVCO when they begin the process of housing selection.

Collegian writer Sabrina Norwood can be contacted at news@collegian.com.

Useful tips when looking for a place to live:

  • Know what you want before you begin the search
  • Make a roommate contract
  • Be sure to make a copy of your lease for your own records
  • Know your budget
  • Do not rush; weigh out each option
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