Apartment Hunting 101

All Penn State students can agree that there is a love-hate relationship with on-campus housing. While you may get to live one cinderblock wall away from your best friends and not have to worry about being a full fledged adult just yet, there are some down sides to not having a little home to call your own. From having your own kitchen to whip up home-cooked meals to not having to share a bathroom with fifteen other people, the apartment life might be the way to go for those who are interested in moving off campus.

Valley completely understands the struggle of finding an apartment that won’t break the bank and still includes all the amenities you will need to sit back and relax in your new home away from home. We have put together an apartment hunting task list in order to help you find your new home with ease.

Set Your Price Limit

First things first; in order to start your apartment hunting, you must set a price limit for both you and your potential roommates. There is nothing worse than finding an apartment in the perfect location and then coming to realize it’s over your monthly budget.

Apartments vary greatly in price depending on the type you are looking for. Is the apartment furnished or unfurnished? Are all your amenities included? Is the price worth the location? These are just some of the questions you may want to consider when establishing whether or not a more apartment is right for you.

Tour, Tour, Tour!

While it it resourceful to look up floor plans online of the apartments you may be interested in, touring the apartment in person is always the best way to go. While you tour, you will have the opportunity to ask questions and see your potential future room.

Most tours can be scheduled through the agencies’ website or by phone. The best way to find apartments that interest you is to grab some coffee, round up your potential roommates and walk around downtown through all the streets, alleys and walkways. Take pictures or write down the names of the places that interest you and take note of the location and the phone number of the apartment office.

The easiest apartments to find are the big complexes such as The Meridian or The Legacy. However, if a large complex is not your preferred style of living, look into the smaller spaces like the ones above Saints Cafe, Starbucks or any on West Beaver Ave. There are a lot of smaller apartments above the shops we have all come to know and love.

Try Looking Past Downtown

Downtown State College is the ideal location for an apartment when it comes to the proximity to campus. Being within walking distance of Old Main and the HUB is definitely a plus. However, these prime spaces fill up quick.

If you still crave off campus housing but can’t find something in the heart of downtown, try searching for others that may be a little farther off campus. The CATA bus travels all around the State College area to pick up students—Vairo Boulevard is one example.

Vairo Boulevard, about a ten minute drive off campus, has a few different complexes on and around it. From The View to The Pointe, these off campus housing options come furnished and offer many living options—from studios to five bedrooms.

Some of the complexes that require the bus to reach campus provide you with a CATA bus pass, or give you a discount on one with your rent. These complexes off campus are worth looking into for those who don’t enjoy the constant bustle of downtown.

While apartment hunting may seem stressful, it should also be a fun learning experience. Don’t worry if the perfect apartment doesn’t fall right into the palm of your hands. Before you know it, you and your roommates will be curled up in blankets in your living room, eating baked goods and watching reality TV.

Happy apartment hunting, Penn Staters!