Adulting 101

Searching for housing after graduation

McKenna Dirks

More stories from McKenna Dirks

3rd and Vine
April 5, 2022

As students at UW-Eau Claire are nearing the end of their current school year, many may be stressing about the responsibility of finding a place to live for the next year.

Typically, the search for housing begins with thorough research on different realtor websites.

Caitlin Umbreit, a fourth-year nursing major, said her second through fourth year in school, she rented from JCap Real Estate, which has options for university student housing.

“I looked on University Area Housing,” Umbreit said. “Others online as well.”

She began looking for houses around August or early September each year, she said.

When looking for housing for her second and third year, Umbreit said her and her roommates looked at five different houses before deciding which one was best fit.

Matt McHugh, the owner broker of Clearwater Real Estate Enterprises, said often times properties students looked at previously will be gone when they come back to it.

During the process, the ideal amount of roommates is different for everyone and depends on the friendships of people, Umbreit said.

“I have always lived with my best friends,” Umbreit said. “So each year I had five to six people in my house, and it was never an issue.”

McHugh said the most important thing is knowing exactly who the students will be living with and how many people so they can focus on how many bedrooms they’re looking for.

Every house differs from others, which means there are sometimes things to look out for when searching for one.

John Moss, a realtor at General Property Management LLC, said some key things to look for when searching for housing are parking, location, bus routes, dishwasher and laundry machines.

Umbreit, similarly, said specific things she looked for in houses were laundry, parking spots, and also the ratio of bedrooms to bathrooms.

“Students should stay away from having to go to a laundromat,” Emily Voigt, a first-year unified early childhood student said. “And places that are too far from campus.”

When realtors are showing a house or apartment, there are some questions they almost expect students to ask, Moss said.

Questions regarding lease terms, dates, tenant responsibilities, landlord responsibilities, application process and how long it takes for a decision to be made on approval or rejection of the application are all good to ask, Moss said.

Another component of renting a house or apartment is subleasing. Despite a student’s best intentions and plans, things can change and life happens.

McHugh said their real estate tries to make it easy for students to sublease. He said the original signer of the lease, whoever decided not to live on the property they signed for, doesn’t get off the lease until the end of the year.

“Some landlords don’t allow subleasing,” McHugh said. “So it’s up to the property owner whether they permit subleasing or not.”

He said he enjoys working with college students because they’re full of life.

“They’re outlook on life is positive,” McHugh said. “They’re optimistic. It’s fun to be around people with that attitude.”

Dirks can be reached at [email protected].