Picture this: you just moved into your new apartment, dorm, house or co-op a few weeks ago. You’re trying to get used to your new roommates and busy fall schedule when you overhear the sorority girls in your IAH class talking about signing their lease for the ~*perfect*~ house on Orchard. Panic sets in—how were you supposed to know that everyone was starting to sign leases? The editorial staff at Ing has been there and done that. We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you get the most out of your search for East Lansing housing.
Take a walk around EL
“This is something I never did when I looked for housing, but figured out long after I agreed to a high price for a shabby apartment. I did all of my research online and only looked at one apartment in person before signing my lease. After I moved in, I realized there were nicer apartments right around the corner that I never noticed on my online searches. I talked with some of my friends and realized that a lot of people just go for a walk or bike ride around areas of EL that they wanted to live at, and either knocked on the door of a house or walked into the rental office of an apartment to get more information.” -Allison
Be wary of leasing companies
“As a naïve freshman, I just signed a lease for an apartment that looked perfect and had room for my three roommates and I. After looking deeper into my lease (a few months after signing), I realized I had literally sold my soul to the devil—these guys didn’t care about me one bit, they only cared about making money and making it from me. This company charged me for every tiny hole in the wall or loose carpet string they could find. They essentially kept my security deposit (which was hella expensive, too). I signed with the same company the next year, and ended up in a lawsuit over an issue with the apartment! This company treated me like dirt, but there was nothing I could do. My final year—when I was a tad smarter—I signed with DTN and couldn’t be happier. There will always be shitty apartments (this is a college town, after all), but if you sign with a kind and transparent company, you at least know what you’re getting yourself into. Do your research and ask your friends what experiences they had, because it may just save you from having to sue someone!” -Cassidy
Wait to sign a lease
“I signed a lease on the first day they were available in October—both out of fear and out of ignorance. In the past, there had been a shortage of apartment complexes and houses near campus, which made the competition to get a reasonable location and price almost unbearable. With at least three new large apartment complexes in the last few years, there isn’t so much pressure to sign leases in the fall for the next year. There have been plenty of people posting online looking for someone to take over their leases or for another roommate to join their group. Apartments with open units will offer really good deals if people sign later in the game as well. Just stay calm and wait it out if you can!” -Allison
Pick a responsible roommate
“Make sure that you don’t just room with your friend. There’s nothing worse than losing a friend over an argument about money. Your friend may not be reasonable or even responsible, and when it comes to bills there is no turning back. I learned this the hard way and got into an argument about whether my daughter’s father should be able to stay with us (side note: don’t have kids in college and think that you can have a roommate) and another argument about whether a bill was valid. Trust plays a big factor. If a bill is not in your name, then you have to be able to trust that your roommate is paying the bill. You wouldn’t want to get into a situation where you have been giving your roommate what you thought was half of a bill only to find out they were not paying it. All in all, just make sure that you are ready for what is like getting married to the person you are rooming with for a year because, in sickness or health, you will have to deal with that person every day.” -Treandra
Allison Bertram is a senior studying professional writing with a focus in editing and publishing. She enjoys exploring Lansing, visiting coffee shops and greeting any dog that crosses her path. Follow her on social media at @alli_bertram.
Cassidy Johncox is a 2018 grad who studied professional writing with a focus in editing and publishing. When she isn’t working, you can find her reading, writing, or playing video games (…mostly video games).
Treandra Thomas is a 2018 grad who majored in professional writing. Treandra’s imagination has always been pretty huge, and she explores that through writing in her free time. She is shamelessly obsessed with reality television shows and also cooking. You can follow her on Instagram @treandras_world.