Hey, y'all! My name is Sarah and I just graduated from the University of Florida Warrington College of Business, and now I work for SwampRentals.com! I worked as a leasing agent for most of college and now I work with an awesome team running Swamp Rentals, where we help Gainesville renters and UF gators find an apartment that best meets their lifestyle and budget.
Today I want to go through a UF off-campus housing "how-to" and provide you guys with tips on finding your very first apartment. I know how overwhelming it can be, especially for the first time, so today's video will run through the basics of where to begin on your hunt for your perfect UF apartment.
Budgeting for your UF Apartment
First thing's first, it's always best to start by establishing your budget. Your budget will quickly determine which apartments are potential options for you, as well as how far from the UF campus you can afford to live. Apartments are more expensive the closer they are to the UF campus, just for obvious reasons like everyone wants the convenience of being able to walk over to class, right? So keep in mind your budget is going to impact where you can afford to live.
Also when determining your budget, keep in mind that rental rates aren't always fully inclusive, meaning you will most likely be paying some additional fees on top of your monthly rental rate, such as water or electricity, or cable or internet to name a few. Most apartments do provide information on what exactly the rent exactly includes on their website, or you can just call or ask on your tour.
Floor Plans for your UF Apartment
Next up, it's important to think about what floor plans you're interested in renting. Apartments in Gainesville range from studios and 1-bedrooms if you're looking for a place all to yourself, all the way up to 4- and 5-bedrooms if you're looking for a more social college experience. Most Gainesville student apartments do offer individual leasing, meaning that say you have a group of 4 friends, and you guys are going to rent a 4-bedroom, all 4 of you will have your own individual lease and will only be responsible for your portion of the rent. Super handy.
Two big considerations to think about with floor plans are:
1) Does the floor plan make sense with your budget? What I mean by this is prices go down little by little the more bedrooms there are in an apartment. For example, 1-bedrooms are 30-40% more expensive than 4-bedrooms, so you need a bigger budget for smaller floor plans.
2) Do you have specific roommates in mind? Say you have a group of 4 friends that you lived with in your freshman year dorm or from high school, and you truly feel you'd love living with, a 4-bedroom probably makes sense to look for right off the bat.
Random Roommates in your UF Apartment
I want to dive into the topic of roommates a little bit further. While a lot of people chose to live with friends, it's completely normal and very common to opt for random roommates! Thankfully, most student apartments in Gainesville offer roommate matching. Roommate matching is very simple. Basically, you'll fill out a section of lifestyle questions when you're filling out your application. These questions will be things like how clean are you? How often do you like to have people over? What do you like to keep the thermostat at? Apartment leasing offices will then match you up with people they think you'll get along with based on your answers! Personally, I met some of my best friends from roommate matching. It's a great option to meet new people and make some new friends.
Location of your UF Apartment
After you have these two basics nailed down, there are a couple more basics to cover before we get into the fun stuff, but we're almost there.
First up, location. As we discussed earlier, your budget heavily impacts where you're able to live, however, most Gainesville neighborhoods offer something for every budget! Lucky for you, my team here at Swamp Rentals recently teamed up with the UF College of Journalism media team to create brand-new Gainesville neighborhood guides! These guides go over the different perks and things to consider when looking at the different areas of Gainesville.
When considering different neighborhoods, always keep parking in mind. If you plan to have a car when you're living off-campus, keep in mind some neighborhoods are more car-friendly than others. For example, the Midtown neighborhood doesn't offer a lot of parking, but that's typically not an issue as it's right across the street from campus, so students typically walk to class.
Furniture for your UF Apartment
Secondly, furniture. Most student apartments in Gainesville come fully furnished or offer furniture packages. Most college students opt to rent a furnished unit to avoid the hassle and money of furniture shopping and assembly. It's always good to know off the bat if furniture is a must-have for you.
Features & Amenities of your UF Apartment
Now it's time for the fun stuff! Now that you have your budget, floor plan, location, and furniture preferences nailed down – it's time to start thinking of your apartment wish list. Are you dreaming of your first kitchen with beautiful granite countertops and a big kitchen island? Or maybe you're a gym junkie who really wants access to a 24-hour fitness center so you can get your workouts in whenever you have the time. Basically any specific apartment features or community amenities are searchable on Swamp Rentals.
Using Swamp Rentals to find your UF Apartment
Here we are on the homepage of SwampRentals.com. Say you're looking for a 3- or 4-bedroom apartment and your budget is between $600-900. Pop that in here, make sure you're searching "by-the-room" so you see accurate pricing for individual leasing, and click "find my apartment!" Wonderful, we have 37 apartments to look at! But let's get a little more specific with those apartment wish list items we came up with. I'm gonna scroll over here to "features & amenities" and filter my search down even more. Let's say I really want a patio, check. Or I definitely am gonna want wood floors, check. And definitely gonna want a private bathroom, check. Looking down here at community features, let's think about what amenities we'd like… yeah I'm gonna want a swimming pool to relax by on the weekends, check. A computer lab sounds great too for free printing of my study guides, check!
You can continue clicking through these filters and filter your search down to exactly what you're looking for! We even have a "bus stop" option if you're looking farther from campus and want to be sure there's a bus stop nearby. Once you start seeing some apartments that feel like a good fit, click on them to learn more! Here on each individual listing, you can read through all their floor plan features, community amenities, and learn more about what makes this community special. If you're ready for more information, give them a call, schedule a tour, or click apply online! So hop on over to Swamp Rentals yourself and start clicking to see what you find!