The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

Choosing The Right Home Away From Campus: A Guide For Graduates


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Photo by deborah cortelazzi on Unsplash

Choosing the perfect home away from campus can be both an exciting and daunting task, especially for graduates who are stepping into a new phase of their lives. 

Whether you’re heading to graduate school, starting a new job, or just looking for a change of scenery, finding the right place to live is crucial, and unless you’re a millionaire right out of college, or have some money saved up, renting is your only option. 

If you are considering purchasing, however, the things we’ve discussed in this article are still relevant, but make sure to work with a reliable mortgage lender, that is the only thing we can think of apart from this.

Here’s a down-to-earth guide to help you nail down the ideal spot without losing your mind.

1. Budget Smart, Live Better

First things first, start crunching those numbers. Your budget isn’t just about rent, it also includes utilities, internet, groceries, and those unexpected costs that always pop up at the worst times. 

A good rule of thumb? Aim to spend no more than 30% of your monthly income on rent. This will help you live comfortably without having to survive solely on instant noodles (unless that’s your thing, of course).

2. Location, Location, Location

Think about what’s important to you. If you’re continuing your studies or starting a new job, consider the commute. A place might look great and be super cheap, but if you’re spending a couple of hours commuting each day, it might not be worth it. 

Also, check out the local amenities. Love a midnight snack run? Make sure there’s a convenience store nearby. Gym rat? A nearby fitness center can be a game-changer.

3. Know Your Non-Negotiables

We like to call this an ‘oh, no no’ list, where you list down things that are absolutely non-negotiable, and if nothing else, it will help you eliminate prospects and narrow down to the right properties quicker.

Maybe you need a quiet place because you’ll be studying a lot, or perhaps having a dishwasher is a deal-breaker because you know you’ll never do those dishes piling up in the sink. Knowing what you can’t live without will streamline your search and keep you focused on what truly matters.

At the same time, consider the things you can absolutely not deal with, such as an unsafe, or violent neighborhood, no matter how cheap the rent is.

4. Dive Into the Details

When you’re looking at potential places, it’s easy to get caught up in the aesthetics, like those granite countertops or a killer view. But, remember to check the nitty-gritty details too. 

How’s the water pressure in the shower? What’s the policy on pets or visitors? These might seem minor at first, but they can seriously affect your day-to-day comfort. The smallest things are known to make a huge difference when it comes to your quality of stay.

5. Safety First

As mentioned before, don’t make the mistake of falling for a place just because it looks good on paper, or is very affordable. Oftentimes, there is a very good reason why a house may be affordable, and it has to do with your neighbors, or more specifically the neighborhood the building is located in.

Crime can make your life hell, and even if you don’t experience anything untoward, the constant anxiety will take a toll on your psyche. Make sure to look up a neighborhood, speak to the locals, and understand the overall vibe of the area before signing a lease.

6. Leasing Logistics

Reading a lease can feel like decoding ancient hieroglyphics, but it’s essential to understand what you’re signing up for. 

Look for terms about lease termination, subletting, and deposit refunds. If something in the lease seems off or if you just don’t understand it, don’t hesitate to ask questions or even get a second opinion from someone more experienced.


Navigating the world of post-grad housing is like navigating a new chapter in life, full of opportunities and challenges. 

By considering your needs thoughtfully and preparing accordingly, you’ll set yourself up for a smooth transition to a new home that supports your next big steps in life. Good luck, and here’s to finding your perfect new pad!

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