Living off campus is a nice way to get away from RAs and depending on where you move to loud people and cramped living. The university has a great page for it at http://www.uncg.edu/cap/commuter/tips.php.
How to find a placeEdit
You'll need to decide what sort of place you want to stay: an apartment complex, a stand-alone house, a duplex, etc. The best way to decide this is by getting a feel for what Greensboro has available. See as many places as you can and take really good notes about each.
There are flyers and pamphlets around the [EUC] that different apartment complexes leave around. Go visit these places and ask for a tour of the available spaces and ask lots of questions about each one(listed below). If you see any signs that say "now leasing" or "for rent" along the way, stop in or get the phone number on the sign and ask to see the place. Be sure to mark down what the address is, as many landlords own multiple properties in the area and they need to know which one you're interested in (though you may want to ask them what other places they have available).
If you like the idea of renting a house, drive/walk through some neighborhoods around campus you might like to live in. Lindley Park, the area west of campus and between Spring Garden and Market St, is a nice place with a more chill atmosphere and caters to post-grads. Ask around and see what other people think of different areas around campus.
Don't forget to look on craigslist often. Even if you don't respond, you'll start getting an idea of which apartment complexes and neighborhoods have available and who they cater to. If you want to find your own place, look under apts / housing. If you want to move in to a place that someone already has and needs a roommate, look in rooms / shared.
Inconveniently, most people don't post that they have a place available until two weeks before they need you to move in. On the bright side, the closer it gets to the beginning of the school year, the better the deals on housing, but it gets riskier. If you want a place to stay for Fall, start talking to leasing offices during spring break because that's when current tenants decide whether they want to renew their lease or not and you'll have the best pick of the apartments.
What to do when touring a house/apartmentEdit
Dress nice. This is as much an interview for you as it is for them.
Bring a pad of paper and a pencil and be ready to take a lot of notes. When you come home after a long day of house hunting, you'll be happier if you take detailed notes because all the places start running together after a while. In addition to sketching the basic floor plan of the apartment, you'll want to write down the answers to the following questions:
- How much does it cost per month? Make sure you find out if that's the price for the whole unit or per person.
- What is included in the rent: electric, water, gas (if applicable, see below), trash, TV, internet? For the things not included, how much do they usually run per month?
- Is it gas or electric heating? Gas is more efficient, but it's one more bill to pay.
- What kitchen appliances are included: fridge, oven/stove (gas or electric?), dishwasher (more water, energy, and time efficient than hand-washing), microwave?
- Is there a washer/dryer in the apartment? If not, is there a washer/dryer hook-up and would they be willing to provide a washer/dryer for an additional monthly payment (no more than $50/month. If not, )is there a laundry facility on site and how much does it cost? If not, where is the nearest laundromat?
- Who does the repairs if something breaks? (if the owner says they do and you look around and see things duct taped together, say thank you and leave) What hours can you call for repairs? Remember that you do not have to pay for repairs if you didn't break it.
- Are pets allowed? Which ones? If you are allergic to a certain pet, have any lived in there before you?
- Is smoking allowed in the building? Even if you're not a smoker, you might not want to live in a place that has some dumbass next door who will set his apartment on fire.
- What is the neighborhood like? Who would your neighbors be?
- Carpet, hardwood, or linolium flooring?
- Are there any noticeable problems with the place? What's the deal with them?
- Are the power outlets grounded (3-pronged)? Are there enough of them around?
- How fast is the internet connection? You may need to ask the neighbors.
- Are there locks on the doors/windows? Can the windows be opened? Sometimes they are painted shut.
- Are the walls/attic/windows insulated?
- Is furniture provided? At what cost?
- Are there working fans in the bathroom?
- Anything else that comes to mind, ask!
Do not be afraid to ask any questions while you're there. Be straightforward if you want them to be straightforward with you.
If you like the place, you might want to knock on a few nearby doors and ask how they like the place, what problems they've had, stuff like that. They're more likely to give you solid answers since they're not trying to sell you anything.
How much should a house beEdit
Depends on what is provided, how much square-footage, and how much they think they can squeeze out of your parents. The places that are obviously marketed to students looking to get their first place are going to be much more expensive, especially if they have a community pool/game room/tanning bed. That may appeal to you or it may not, but consider their audience, as those will be your neighbors.
The more places you look at, the better you'll be at judging how much a place should cost. Just keep looking.
How to get the landlord to fix what is brokenEdit
Call them as soon as it breaks. If you wait around, it will just get worse and they might try to pin it on you.