Should you rent an apartment or a room in a private home?
You’ve already chosen your university and narrowed down an area of study. Your next big decision to ace? Choosing where to live, and, more specifically whether your should rent an apartment or rent out a spare room in a home.
Of course, no matter which housing option you choose, Roomdock is here to help by connecting you with housing that’s a great fit for you.
But, know this: there are some key differences between renting an apartment and renting a room in a household.
We’ll walk you through the pros and cons of both these common U.S. rental options.
Apartments offer more freedom
Sure, you still need to be respectful of your neighbors within the apartment complex. (Read: No loud music that will disrupt their sleep). But, if you’re living solo in an apartment, you won’t annoy anybody but yourself if you leave dishes in the sink or have the television on at midnight. Of course, this is a different scenario if you’re sharing an apartment with roommates. In which case, it’s always helpful to have a discussion about expectations for quiet hours and cleanliness of shared living spaces, like the kitchen and living room. In fact, Roomdock can help with roommate matching. Also, here’s our guide on 10 questions you should ask a roommate before moving in with them. The advantage of living in a home is the renter may do some extras for you, like pick you up at the airport. Something to keep in mind, though, is Roomdock can also extend these kinds of concierge services. We’ll even arrange for temporary housing if there’s some gaps between when you arrive in your college town and when your apartment is ready for move-in.
Leases in private home rentals tend to be simple documents
In the United States, tenants are required to review and sign leasing documents before moving into a rental. Typically, leases dictate several rules — including penalties for moving out early, whether you can have pets in the rental and stipulations for how your deposit will be returned. If you rent from a homeowner, the leasing documents tend to be fairly straightforward and only a couple of pages long, however this isn’t always the case. For apartment rentals, the leases tend to be lengthy and more detailed. Whether you rent from a private landlord or an apartment complex, rest assured Roomdock is here to help with leasing mediation, which can be especially helpful for international students who are getting a grasp of the English language, but could be intimidated by the legal terms in these documents. The mediation will help you understand the contractual obligations and requirements set forth by a property so that your rental goes smooth. Roomdock will even walk you through the process, highlighting what needs to be signed and understood.
Room shares can give you a better cultural experience
You’ll certainly learn lots from your textbooks, lectures and laboratories. But part of the whole experience of studying in another country is increasing your knowledge of other cultures, right? What better way to do that then get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how an American family lives? There’s plenty to pick up on about the American culture, whether it’s the camaraderie at a college football game on Saturday afternoons in the fall or putting some landmarks like national marks and museums on your “must-see” list while studying here. But renting a room in a home can give you a glimpse at everyday life in America. Perhaps you and your housemate can take turns making meals for one another. Or, watch the news and discuss current global events with one another.
Apartments are often unfurnished
It’s rare that you’ll find a furnished apartment as that type of housing is more common for working professionals and in business districts rather than near college campuses. Rather, most college-area apartments are unfurnished. Here at Roomdock, we know you can’t lug over a full bedroom set and all of the necessities you need for furnishing a bedroom. That’s why we offer a Roomdock Welcome Kit to our renters to help with the transition. The kit includes essentials to help hold you over until you’ve got your apartment furnished. The complimentary gift set includes a shower curtain, set of towels and a fleece sleeping bag. On the flip side, many
You may need to follow ‘house rules’ in a room share
To be fair, apartments and private rentals will typically have rules surrounding things like whether you can smoke and if pets are allowable. But when you live in someone’s home, you may need to follow some additional “house rules” to be respectful of those who you’re sharing a home with. This might mean that overnight guests aren’t allowed over or that you chip in on chores in shared living spaces or that you help pay for things that the household uses, like dish soap and detergent.
When you rent an apartment, you’ll oftentimes have access to extra amenities like a community pool or workout room. But keep in mind, these amenities will likely be reflected in the cost of your rental, and, to be completely honest, you probably don’t need these amenities because your student fees likely cover access to a top-notch recreation center, oftentimes including a pool. The tradeoff? Renting a room in a private home could have more “home-y” amenities, like a backyard or a pet.