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

  • Apartment/Condo
  • House/Townhouse
  • 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

House $2,249 Condo $1,583
1 Bedroom $1,134 Studio Apartment $905
2 Bedroom $1,450 1 Bedroom Apartment $1,246
3 Bedroom $2,312 2 Bedroom Apartment $1,510
4 Bedroom $2,425+ 3 Bedroom Apartment $1,850+

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?
  • Dishwasher?
  • Washer/dryer in unit?
  • Air conditioning?
  • Private parking?
  • Cable and Internet?
  • Pets permitted?
  • Furnished?
  • 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 offcampus.housing@biola.edu

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