Off campus student housing in Waterloo can vary wildly from $300 to $1,500 a month. But your total cost of living depends on many things…
- Apartment in a high rise vs. basement apartment vs. penthouse vs. house
- Utilities, cable, internet – included or not included?
- Sharing costs with roommates and how many roommates?
There are lots of hidden off campus student housing costs, both actual dollar costs and convenience costs.
Don’t get stuck with a student housing situation where you end up paying far more than you budgeted for due to costs you didn’t anticipate. Ask the right questions up front to make sure you know the TOTAL COST of your student housing before signing on the dotted line.
Top 10 Things to Consider When Looking at the Total Cost of Student Housing
Internet can cost you up to $60 a month and can be a lot more than that if you have multiple people streaming video in your apartment. In addition, there is the hassle of having to round up money from all of your roommates each month to get the bill paid. Also, how do you figure out if someone needs to pay more than their share of the bill since they are actually driving up the cost by streaming Netflix all night?
Wouldn’t it great if your room was fitted with your own internet, high speed and unlimited bandwidth?
Your cost for cable is a minimum of $15 a month, not including installation cost which can start at $99, or the HDTV box equipment rental of about $5 a month. In addition to cable, IPTV (internet protocol television – access to over 200 free online channels) is an extra cost.
If off-campus housing offers free cable, look for standardized technical support and ask for online accessibility.
3. Hydro, Gas & Water
Everyone needs hydro; this is a hard cost that everyone has to pay. According to hydro companies, typical student hydro is $25 a month. Not worrying about hydro bills is one less thing to think about when studying.
Costs for water ($15/month) and gas delivery ($15/month) are typically not included. Water heater rental is an additional cost as well at around $11.99 per month. Students in the Waterloo region need water softener due to the harshness of local water.
4. Deposits & Other Fees
Many property managers and landlords will ask for deposits and other fees such as:
- When signing a lease, LMR (Last Month’s Rent) deposit secures your accommodation space. The amount is equal to one month’s rent.
- Key deposit can includes FOB, mailbox, and laundry cards etc.; basically, any of the keys required for your access to areas of the building, suite and bedroom.
- If registering with utility companies directly, you may be required to place a deposit for the rented space.
This is the standard practice when renting student accommodations. However, all-inclusive apartments will take care of all utility deposits.
5. Room size
Living away from home means being prepared and living efficiently in your space. You need space to sleep, space to set-up an organized private study area and space to store all of your belongings.
For non-local students (especially international students from Asia and India), a large room and more storage are particularly important because you likely have more stuff and can’t just ship back to home as easily. Smart design layout and furniture selection makes all the difference.
Typically, 200 square feet of bedroom space is an average size. Ask about smart storage solutions offered in bedroom units. Look for large floor space that allows for additional shelving for the room.
6. Private bathroom
The word private says it all, doesn’t it?
No need to schedule your turn to use the bathroom or limited space for your toiletries. How about scheduling taking turns cleaning the bathroom? Will all our your roommates do their fair share? Yup, private bathroom is king.
Some off-campus student housing may be cheaper with shared bathrooms, but at what cost and is it worth it?
Shared kitchen and living space are good to promote social activities but, let’s face it – a shared bathroom is another thing. Having to wake up every morning to see other people’s hair or toothpaste spit in the sink… ‘nuff said.
7. Gym membership
If you want to keep fit while away at university, you are going to need a gym membership which can run you $30 – $50 a month. That can really add up over the course of the year. However, if you choose off-campus student housing that has amenities like a gym in the building, you’ve just saved yourself a major monthly expense. The University and College offer a free gym you say? Well, there are other factors, such as too many people everywhere, and the convenience of having a gym in your housing is a plus.
Keep in mind that a minimum of 15 minutes of exercise a day will help to reduce stress levels and let you focus on the task at hand – doing well at school. Healthy body, healthy mind.
For your bedroom, you are obviously going to need to have a bed, mattress, night table, desk and chair, bare minimum. Having to lug all of those items from home, or even buy all those items when you get to Waterloo is a pain and a budget expense you probably haven’t considered.
If you bring your furniture from home, you have to pay for a truck to get it all there and back! Plus, when you go home for the holidays or to visit, will you even have a place to sleep when your parents have turned your empty room into a scrap booking room?
If you are not bringing furniture from home, add up the total cost of having to buy all of those items and have them delivered.
The convenience and cost-savings of getting fully-furnished student housing in Waterloo are undeniable. All you need is bedding, toiletries and the bare essentials of student living…like food and you are all set!
Keep in mind that, if you are renting a fully-furnished apartment, you are going to want to really take a good look at the furniture included. You don’t want to spend a year living on a ratty, smelly couch.
Sharing a space is never easy. Let’s face it, cleaning is not the average student’s favourite thing to do. But, it must be done. So, who’s going to do it? You can draft a cleaning schedule and hope that everyone pulls their own weight. But do you really want to be cleaning up after your roommates.
Some off-campus student housing properties offer cleaning programs to help you focus on school and having a good time while away at school. Cleaning programs may include cleaning all parts of the apartment like the kitchen, living room, bedrooms and bathrooms.
Although cleaning will be an additional cost, it is probably cheaper than you think and is likely the best money you spend all year.
10. Live Comfortably – Healthy Mind
When choosing student housing, consider how important your day to day environment is to your well-being. Daylight helps with maintaining a healthy mind. Natural lighting, when maximized, enhances the living experience. Look for large windows and open concept spaces.
Why should I consider an all-inclusive price?
Even when looking at the cheapest option for student housing in Waterloo, when you add up all of the hidden costs, you are really paying much more than you anticipated for the lifestyle you need to be successful while away at school. For almost the same price, you should think about how an all-inclusive student housing option stacks up. Don’t think only about monetary costs, but think also about convenience and overall experience. You’ll probably find that an all-inclusive option is a great choice.
Find out more about your all-inclusive option by taking a tour or applying now.