The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Off campus student housing is a literal nightmare

A guide to surviving “house hunting”
Photo by Delia Brandel
Being able to live with my best friends made all the stress of house hunting worth it.

Freshman year, my friends and I decided to live together very early on. We chose Suites on campus as our number one option and applied fairly quickly. 

It was about a month later that we started hearing murmurs from upperclassmen about the benefits of moving off – campus, and we panicked. 

At this point it was November, and we had about four options left by the time we decided to scrap the Suites and make the jump into a neighborhood near lower campus. 

And it’s been, well, let’s say we understand why our house was still up on the market so late in the season. 

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Needless to say, the minute the rental companies started posting properties this fall, I was the first to review them. 

My roommates and I toured five houses, mulled it over and chose our favorite. For only about $50 more than our current rent, we decided an upgrade made sense. 

It was only once I went to look over the budgeting of it all that I realized how obscene it is to be charged so much for the house we live in now. 

Since then it’s been on my mind. Where is all the rent going, anyway? It’s not like we’re living in luxury; our power surges at least once a day, and the windows are held up by wooden rods. 

At this point, I’ve gotten pretty used to telling people we are “bleeding money,” which is moderately frustrating considering this same rent could get me a much nicer place elsewhere,

But that’s the thing, the houses don’t need to be nice, because regardless of how run down or old the place is, most students will take it over dorm living. 

Not to mention that most off-campus housing is still leagues cheaper than the dorms anyway. 

But among the turmoil of chore days, broken windows and rent conversations, there’s the thrill of living with your friends. 

For me, it’s worth it. I would take all of the hot days without Air Conditioning and the prominent smell of “old house” any day for the memories I’ve made in our sweet little home. 

So, in an attempt to help future students move off-campus with ease, here are a couple of tips from a girl who’s been through it. 

Tip Number One: Always advocate for an in-person tour. Landlords do a really good job of taking deceiving pictures and videos to post on rental websites. The house you see in the ad posting could be from many eons ago. 

Tip Number Two: Ask the uncomfortable questions. Take a deep breath, and stand up for yourself. The other option is to end up stuck in a situation you didn’t account for. 

Tip Number Three: Talk to the current renters of the home. Most, if not all, of the tours you go on will happen while the current tenants are in the home, ask for their number, they will be much more transparent than the realtor. 

Tip Number Four: Make lists of what you want and what to avoid and pay attention to detail. Remember, this is where you’re going to live. If it looks sketchy, it probably is. 

Tip Number Five: Read reviews, Ask your peers and the tenants about the property management company you are considering renting from. You might dodge a very important bullet. 

This process can be scary, stressful and will probably push you out of your comfort zone. But it’s so rewarding when you settle in and can finally say it’s your home. 

Delia can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Delia Brandel, Multimedia Editor
Delia is a second-year illustration student, pursuing a career in children's book illustration and animation. This is her third semester on The Spectator. Delia is particularly fond of books, art, her cat Applesauce, music, tea, baby clothes, the 2019 version of “Little Women” and animated movies.

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