Apartment Hunting in Atlanta

By: Joanne Amposta– 1st Year: Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

Congratulations on your acceptance to Rollins! Moving to Atlanta but don’t know where to start? Look no further!

Step 1: Finding a Roommate from Rollins

Utilize the Rollins School of Public Health, Class of 2019 Facebook Page.

Posting on the Rollins Facebook Pages is a great way for first-years and second-years to connect with other students while looking for roommates. Rollins alumni that are staying in the Atlanta area who need roommates have also posted on Facebook pages. Craigslist is also another resource that Rollins alumni tend to use when looking for roommates as well.

When posting on Facebook, remember to be respectful of others and consider mentioning the following details:

  •  Give background information about yourself – Where are you from? What department will you be in?
  • How many roommates are you looking for?
  • Do you have a pet or are you willing to live with a pet?
  • What neighborhoods/apartment complexes would you like to live in?
  • How far away from campus are you willing to commute?

If your schedule allows for it, come to Visit Emory (March 30-31st)!
Visit Emory is an excellent opportunity to meet other students from all departments! With that being said, don’t be afraid to live with other students from other departments! Living with someone from another department is a wonderful way to get to know students from Rollins that you may not have the opportunity to interact with otherwise.

 

Step 2: Finding a Place to Live (aka the MOST IMPORTANT part of this blog).

Moving to the big city from a small rural town in Virginia was a great learning experience for me, mostly because I realized that there were so many things about the housing market that were different in a metropolitan city.

What neighborhood do you want to live in?

Take the time to learn about the different neighborhoods of Atlanta. There are plenty of students who live close to Rollins in Druid Hills or Decatur. Personally, I live about 10-15 minutes away from Rollins (without traffic) in Lindbergh. Choosing the neighborhood you want to live in is contingent upon whether you want to walk, take the shuttle, or drive to school – so be sure to research Marta bus routes and consider traffic! Also, please note that Emory University and Rollins do not have a Marta Rail line near it.
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Each neighborhood has an average price range, so this is something to consider, too! Here’s a handy-dandy website that lists the average 1-bedroom rent prices for Atlanta from January 2017.

The rent prices in Atlanta change EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

That’s right, the prices of rent fluctuate depending on the housing market rate of the day. It is imperative to start looking for a place as soon as possible and to check the rates of every apartment complex that you are interested in at least once every 3 days. If you are looking on Craigslist or Zillow for homeowners that are privately leasing their condos/houses, the rates will not change and may be negotiable.

If you are interested in a unit of an apartment complex, call the leasing office! Here are a few questions to consider asking leasing agents. These questions may also apply to homeowners leasing their spaces:

  • Guarantor Requirements: Some apartments require that you (and your roommates) have a guarantor. Does the apartment complex require a guarantor, and if so, what are the requirements?
  • Renter’s Insurance: Does the apartment complex require renter’s insurance? If your apartment complex requires renter’s insurance, be sure to purchase renter’s insurance PRIOR to signing your lease and bring multiple copies.
  • Length of Lease: How long are you are able to rent out the apartment before renewal/termination of lease? In the case of homeowner leasers, this may be negotiable. For apartment complexes, negotiation terms may be slim depending on the property management company and the owner of the property.
  • Utilities: All apartment complexes bill utilities differently. Electricity is generally done through Georgia Power; however, water/sewer/trash varies between apartment complexes. How will utilities be billed? What companies do you work with for water/sewer/trash? How much is the water activation fee?
  • Pet policy: Ask about monthly pet fees if you or your roommate(s) plan on bringing a pet!
  • Noise control: Consider what is surrounding your potential apartment complex. If the apartment complex is located next to a train, a busy street, a pool, or a store with a loading dock, ask what side of the building your unit of interest is on.
  • Floor location: Higher floors tend to have higher rent prices; however, you may want to consider building security. Unfortunately, in my experience break-ins have occurred on the first floor. If floor location is something that you would like to consider, ask what floor your unit of interest is on.
  • Access to the building: Speaking of building security, ask if residents receive keys or key fob/remote upon signing the lease. Also, be sure to ask if the keys or key fob/remote has a one-time additional cost on top of the security deposit, rent, etc. Does the building have security personnel?
  • Internet: Usually done through Comcast or AT&T. I highly recommend speaking to an agent over the phone to see if you can get the best deal (that may not be advertised online).

Amenities, amenities, amenities.

Aside from the apartment itself, what else are you paying for? Be sure to pay attention to what the apartment complex offers. Rent may actually go a long way! Here are a few questions to ask leasing agents regarding amenities:

  • Washer & Dryer: Are they in the apartment itself, or are there washers and dryers in the apartment building? How new is the equipment?
  • Pool: How many guests are able to access the pool at one time? What is the pool policy?
  • Fitness Center: What equipment do you have? How new is the equipment?
  • Parking: Does the apartment have surface parking or garage parking? Is parking controlled access only? Where do guests park? Is parking free, or is there a monthly/one-time charge? Up to how many cars may be kept on the premises per lease?
  • Pest Control: How do I opt-in/opt-out to pest control services? How often can the apartment be sprayed for pests?

Here is a screenshot of a spreadsheet that my roommate and I used when looking for apartments:
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Note: My roommate and I used the spreadsheet to compare the prices of apartments across the Lindbergh neighborhood, just to see if moving to a new apartment complex would be cheaper; however, you could use the same format when looking for apartments. I also used Google Drive so I could share the document with my roommate so we could divide and conquer when it come to contacting various apartment complexes.

Step 3: Moving In

You (and your roommates) have found a place to live and you are going to move into your brand new apartment! Hurray!

Consider the price of the move if you are coming from out-of-town. Be sure to budget for boxes, gas, a moving truck or pod and movers, airplane ticket, luggage, etc. Also, remember to set up your utilities prior to moving in!

When deciding when to move, be sure to give yourself some time to get settled in. Get to know your roommates, set up your new place, and finally…

Step 4: Explore Your New City!

Take the time to explore Atlanta! I highly recommend reading any of the previous blogs that some of the other super-fabulous ambassadors have written. If you need any additional suggestions for places to go, please feel free to contact me!

Happy Apartment Hunting, and WELCOME TO ROLLINS!

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