What is your budget? Before you start searching for off-campus housing, you need to evaluate how much you can afford to spend on housing and related expenses. A great first step is filling out a budget worksheet. Keep in mind which items are fixed costs (must haves you cannot change) and which costs are discretionary (you can change if and how much to spend on these categories).
Who will you live with? Who you live with may be even more important than where so live, so think through the decision of whether to have roommates and who your roommates will be. While your best friend might seem like an obvious choice, be sure that you have considered the challenges that living in close quarters will bring. Living together can strain friendships, especially if you disagree about cleanliness, parties, guests, paying bills, or expectations of each other.
Use this checklist to compare the properties that you view. Take along a camera to help record what you see. This way, you will be able to review your options when you are home and not under pressure. This will also help you to compare pros and cons of each apartment.