Tips for a successful housing search in Ohio State’s off-campus neighborhood

The Lantern
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After hitting third-year status at Ohio State, some students can feel overwhlemed and excited when it comes to moving off-campus into a house or an apartment. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Lantern File Photo

Upon gaining third-year status at Ohio State, many students choose to ditch the dorms and pick up a pair of keys to a new apartment or house.

Moving into an apartment or house for the first time can be exciting, but also scary and anxiety-inducing. Students must navigate these feelings while keeping up with the daily workload of school.

Rachel DeMooy, program manager of Off-Campus and Commuter Student Engagement, said students can look at their website for an off-campus living guide. Students can also access reviews of many properties listed on Ohio State’s housing search .

Emma Adams, a third-year in molecular genetics, said she felt unprepared and overwhelmed when searching for off-campus housing, having had little information on the process.

“College is definitely a transition kind of time in life, and moving here is kind of seeing what being an independent adult is like,” Adams said.

Morgan Hess, a third-year in nursing, said she was nervous to move into her apartment off campus because of safety concerns. She said she felt more safe on campus because of better lighting and security measures, in comparison to off campus.

Adams said she valued her safety and wanted a house closer to campus — but that would be more expensive.

“We’re looking for that happy medium of, you know, we would feel safe, but also affordable,” Adams said.

DeMooy said students should do their research and can use CrimeMapping to look at local crime history. They can use filters to directly search the area they’re interested in.

“If you can, talk with current tenants and ask about their experience,” DeMooy said. “Visit the property during the day and at night to ensure that you’re comfortable in that area.”

DeMooy said students should be proactive and take advantage of free resources through the university such as safety timers and window or door alarms.

Students should prepare a budget ahead of time when looking for off-campus housing, DeMooy said. They can download a monthly budget plan from the university’s Smooth Move website .

DeMooy said all students can meet with Ohio State’s Scarlet and Gray Financial coaches for help with budgeting. She said the average rent for off-campus houses is between $600 and $700 a month, plus an additional $100 for utilities.

Both Hess and Adams said they have more responsibilities living off campus than in the dorms because there are more tasks to complete. Hess said she and her roommate had to distribute chores and other tasks evenly.

“My roommate and I were just like, ‘Okay, who wants to take charge when getting certain furniture, or who is going to take out the trash, who is going to want to do the dishes?’ ” Hess said.

DeMooy said she recommends students with four or more roommates live in a house and students with fewer roommates live in an apartment. Students should keep in mind that houses and apartments carry different maintenance responsibilities.

“It might be in your lease that you have to mow the lawn or take care of different things around the house versus an apartment. Most of the time, companies will kind of take care of those extra responsibilities,” DeMooy said.

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