You probably thought getting your kid into a college was the hardest thing about college, and, well, it probably was. But as you've likely discovered, your young adult is still young and could use your help at times – like when it's time to look for an apartment.
Your kid is finally entering the real world, and as you know, the real world isn't always as warm and friendly as we'd like it to be. So if you'd like your kid to avoid renting from a con artist or signing a lease that he or she doesn't understand, you have a lot to think about.
Research, research, research. Begin apartment hunting by calling the housing program at the college.
Read online reviews and go to the website of the apartments. Look at which apartments paid for utilities, how far they were from campus and which ones were on a bus line. Make sure your child is doing their own research, too. This helps them own the decision ... After all, this is where they will be living.
Decide if you'll co-sign a lease. Nothing wrong with this in theory, since you may have little choice. Many landlords and apartment companies are reluctant to sign on a college kid who doesn't have a full-time job, has no credit history and isn't co-signing with his or her parents. But before you sign, you'd better know your kid well and have a serious talk with him or her about how the condition of the apartment needs to be in as good of shape on the last day as the first. If you know you have a kid who isn't all that responsible, you probably shouldn't co-sign.
Recognize that you may be required to sign a yearlong lease. Right now, you're probably thinking: So what? After all, that's standard with apartments.
And it's standard that school years last about nine months.
Of course, your college kid may be able to get permission from the landlord to find a tenant to sublet during those summer months, but that, too, opens up a new can of worms. If you think there's any chance you would want your kid to sublet to another tenant, broaching that with the landlord at the start, before you sign the lease.
Engage your kid in the process. Play the role of dutiful parents and ask a lot of questions. Also talk to random residents about living at the apartment and even interrogate employees, asking what they enjoyed about working at the property.
But make sure your child is present when asking these questions, and ask your child how they feel about the visit and what their impressions were of the property, the people they met and the apartment's amenities. It’s all about the kid owning, or co-owning, the decision to move into the apartment.
Educate your kid on what to look for if you can't come along for apartment tours. Discuss anything you think your child should be on the lookout for, such as red flags of a bad neighborhood.
Parents need to know that off-campus college housing is not all the same, and some may be in poor condition or overpriced.
You also should be aware of potential scams. If it looks too good to be true and looks like an interior decorator designed the place, it is bogus. If it looks lived in and messy, it is usually legit.
US News – Money