Housing Search Tips

Things to Consider

Things To Think About Before You Begin

Once you sign a lease, you commit to living in an apartment for the length of the lease, which is generally a year. You will want to make sure the apartment and the neighborhood will be places where you feel safe and comfortable.

How much can you afford to spend? In your estimate, be sure to include:

  • utilities (heat, electricity, gas)
  • transportation costs, parking costs

This cost of living calculator will help you figure out the average costs for the Baltimore area.

Where do you want to live?

  • Do you want to live in an apartment complex or a row house apartment?
  • Do you want to be within walking distance of the College?
  • Do you want other students to live nearby?

If you’ll need transportation to and from the College, do you feel comfortable using public transportation? Can you afford a car and its upkeep?

What services will you want in the neighborhood?

  • Is there a laundromat nearby?
  • Are there food stores conveniently located? Is there a pharmacy?
  • Is it important to be close to other shops, movie theaters, places to eat, banks?

Do you want to live by yourself or with a roommate?

How long do you want to lease – one year, a semester, month-to-month?

What amenities do you require?

  • Is it important to have lots of window light, high ceilings, air conditioning, a dishwasher?
  • Make a list of what is most important to you.

Remember to review security needs and safety procedures whenever you visit an apartment. Take this guide with you when you look. Complete the checklists and ask the questions as you look.

Things You May Need When You Are Looking

Since there are so many things to remember, writing lists of questions and reminders makes it easier to look for and to ask about important items.


Although it can take considerably longer, most students need at least two to three full days to find an apartment.


You will need to budget for:

  • Application fees ($25-$100 per apartment application). Landlords use these applications to check your references and credit.
  • Security deposits and one month’s rent (some landlords require a security deposit and two month’s rent).
  • Cab or bus fares.
  • Food and accommodations while you are looking.
  • Change for parking.

Paper, Pens or Pencils

Some landlords and rental agencies may tell you of other availabilities or you may find listings on campus and area bulletin boards.

Off-Campus Housing List

Have the list of apartments in order of how you want to see them and the pros and cons of each. It will save you time and energy to know exactly what each apartment offers before you even walk in the door.