College students are plagued with countless worries and concerns throughout their years in higher education, and one increasing anxiety involves housing leases.
The first month of school, where most students are trying to settle in and get accustomed to their new living arrangements, is also a prime time for students to lock in their housing for the next year.
In order to get a decent place to live, students need to already be looking ahead to the next year, or possibly face the consequences of being stuck with the leftover housing.
Most students do not even know what they are going to be doing tomorrow, let alone have their living plans figured out a year ahead of time.
The pressure that comes with having to sign leases earlier and earlier each year can be stress-inducing for both students and landlord companies.
“When I was looking at my townhome, it was a month into my sophomore year and people were already signing leases,” Kara Hallgren, senior special education major, said.
The lease Hallgren signed for her current place was signed in October of last year.
“It was one of the last places available in the area,” she said. “Almost everything else was gone.”
Depending on your major, you do not know if you have to commute to other towns and where you are going to need to live next year, she added.
“Knowing where you’re going to live and who you’re going to live with are the biggest things because of not knowing what things are going to be like in a year.”
Locking down leases early can have its benefits, but may also lead to some drawbacks. Because of being committed to housing leases, some students may end up having to miss out on opportunities such as studying abroad.
But while students may feel the pressure to race to sign their leases, the earlier landlords can close a deal, the better.
Bob Smith, landlord of Bob Smith Properties, says there are good reasons for early commitments.
“It’s mainly competition,” he said. “I have to follow what everybody else does. People move in in May, so it’s about nine months ahead of time.”
It is important for smaller companies to get ahead of larger landlord companies like Young America and SAMI, he explained.
“The large landlords set the pace for everyone,” Smith said.
For landlords, their main concern deals with having reassurance that there will be money coming in from tenants consistently.
While that may be a nice option for many students, there is also the fact that everything can be generally quite unpredictable during college years.
What it really comes down to is what students are personally comfortable with.
For some, signing a lease early is one relief students no longer have to worry about, but for others, holding off for a little while may turn out to be the best option.
“You just don’t know what the next year will bring or who you’re going to be living with,” Hallgren said.