Seven Steps to Living Off-Campus
Begin with broad options and narrow down as you go.... Have an idea of what you are looking for.
Step One: Prioritize What Type of Housing You Want to Live In
- Room in Private Home – individual room available for rent in a private home
- Shared/Roommates – share room(s) with others in an apartment or house
- Short-Term/Furnished – summer and winter sublets
- Suite/Apartment in House – each room has its own entrance
Step Two: Develop a Budget for Expenses
Consider not only rent, but utilities, food, transportation, entertainment, emergency costs, etc. The cost of living off campus without a meal plan is about $6000-$10,000 per academic year (gas, utilities, rent, etc.--not including food). The cost of living in Biola-owned Apartments without a meal plan is approximately $5,222 (add in gas, food, etc.) The cost of living in Biola residence halls with a meal plan is approximately $8000-10,000 per academic year. Generally, living in a house with roommates is usually cheaper than living in an apartment on your own. Decide what you can afford. See OCHS Money & Budgeting Worksheet to help determine your budget.
Typical Area Rents
||1 Bedroom Apartment
||2 Bedroom Apartment
||3 Bedroom Apartment
Step Three: Consider if You Will Live Alone, or With Roommates
Factors to consider:
- Know what’s important to you!
- Take the initiative!
- Discuss expectations
- Who will look for a place to live?
- Decide how financial decisions will be made
- How many roommates would you prefer to live with?
- Even “close” friends often find that they cannot live together…
Need a roommate? Check out Off-Campus Housing 101's Roommate Finder or post internally on Biola Classifieds.
Step Four: Consider Your Transportation Needs
Step Five: What Features are Essential?
- Private room and/or bathroom?
- Washer/dryer in unit?
- Air conditioning?
- Private parking?
- Cable and Internet?
- Pets permitted?
- Handicapped accessible?
- First floor? Second? (What's your preference?)
- Guest parking?
Begin your search using the widest possible criteria... Narrow choices as you go!
Step Six: It's Time to Begin the Search!
Both Biola Classifieds and Biola Off-Campus Housing 101 are great places to start.
- Look at several possibilities and compare
- Check the property well
- Take a list of questions with you to ask the landlord
- Take notes about each property that you see. Observe surroundings, professional manner of landlord, willingness to answer questions
- Investigate lighting, laundry services, utilities, locks, yardcare, decorating options, parking, guest privileges, and fire safety (two exits from building)
- Leases are legally binding documents and should be read carefully before signing. Always put your lease in writing!
Step Seven: Moving In!
- Inspect the actual unit you intend to occupy. You don't want to be charged for damages that existed prior to occupancy.
- Complete a thorough inventory of your new home.
- Turn in a repairs list to the landlord.
- Arrange for telephone & utilities to be turned on.
- Clean unit prior to occupancy.
- Purchase Renter's Insurance. (It is typically less than $20/mo.)
- Purchase fire safety equipment (fire extinguisher)
- Always get a receipt for your deposit and rent payments!
Welcome to Your New Home!
For a printed (pdf) copy of this guide: 7 Steps to Living Off-Campus
Questions? Call us at Commuter Life: Off-Campus Housing Services 562-777-4078 firstname.lastname@example.org