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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Finding A Place for Next Year

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View of Harbor Point apartments. 

As the spring semester seems to be passing quickly, many freshman students in the dorms are beginning to wonder what their living options are for next year. The dorms on the University of Massachusetts Boston are freshman-only, and there hasn’t been much information on the plans for dorming after freshman year. With on-campus housing off the table, freshman students must begin the rather intimidating process of finding their first apartment. 
As a freshman in this situation, there are some tips and advice that I have been following myself and things that I have been keeping under consideration.
Something that seems pretty self-explanatory, but is so important, is to start budgeting and saving! If you haven’t already been doing so, it is best to start as soon as possible. Some people may put off saving, believing that they can make up the money closer to a fee deadline, but in most situations, this doesn’t end up being the case, causing unnecessary stress. Saving should always be prioritized. I would recommend opening a savings account to begin putting money aside. Try to cut out the unnecessary spending you may have in your daily life; I have cut down on things that can be swapped for alternatives. For example, I cut out Uber Eats, opting instead to use my meal swipes. Maybe make a list of things you find yourself buying each day, but don’t truly need, or can find a cheaper alternative to. I know I spend way too much money at Dunkin’ Donuts, even though there’s a coffee maker sitting in my dorm, waiting to be used. Cutting out simple things can truly make a difference and can help you towards your goal of saving more money. 
Before intense searching on apartment websites like Zillow.com, and Apartments.com, try to solidify whom you will be rooming with. The typical maximum amount for renters for apartments in this area is four, so keep this number in mind as you narrow down your list, or try to find more people. Of course, get in contact with agents to figure out how many people can be rooming in a certain place. I strongly recommend trying to solidify the decision of roommates first because the needs of each roommate may differ and should be considered as you begin your search. The process will go more smoothly, and you will not face continuous changes as time goes on, and more roommates are added. 
Moreover, money is the most important factor to be considering with your roommates. How are different fees going to be broken down amongst everyone?
Work to find reliable roommates who can afford these future payments, are organized, and on-time with things of this nature. You do not want to end up with someone who may be late on a payment or may need a pass in a month or so. 
Lastly, make sure to be asking lots of questions as you begin to get in contact with agents and leasers. What I have personally done before meeting with an agent and touring is writing down questions to ask. This prevents me from forgetting when the tour does actually happen, and it also allows me to get out all of my thoughts and questions on paper. Ask if utilities are included and what their list of utilities includes; most of the places I have looked into include water, heat, and A/C, and exclude electricity, which is typical. Ask about fees that are needed before moving in, what paperwork will need to be done, and what documents and information you will need to complete this paperwork. Ask about amenities that are included and the cost of parking or extra parking. Writing out questions like these and asking them may seem excessive, but they truly aren’t, and are important to ask during the process. And as weird as it may seem, having solid questions prepared beforehand can show that you’re serious about apartment shopping, and typically, this is a good sign to agents.
So, I could not fit all of my advice into this article, but I included three things that I have realized are very important in the process of getting your first apartment. It can be a trial and error process at first, but if you stay organized and motivated, getting your first apartment will be calmer and more exciting than you may have expected!

About the Contributor
Mikayla Mackay, Arts & Lifestyle Editor