Apartment hunting can be a challenge

FSU student Melissa Callea. Photo courtesy: Callea

Finding a reasonably priced apartment that you can call home is crucial for easing the stress of being a new adult. Finally taking the step to move off campus is huge and seems like a dream, but what measures must young people take to afford that move in today’s economy?

Most college students elect to have at least one roommate to ease the out-of-pocket costs that come with living in an apartment. In a college town like Tallahassee, there are innumerable off-campus student-housing options, but the spots fill up quickly.

For FSU graduate student Melissa Callea, apartment hunting was no easy task. “It took me about six months to find something I could afford. I knew living off campus would be more expensive because of the electric, water, Wi-Fi bills and having to buy groceries and stuff,” she said.

Students even must adjust the number of roommates they have, the quality of housing or the proximity to campus to make things work for their budget.

“My rent is cheaper than last year because I have two roommates instead of one, and I was able to find a place that includes my utilities in my rent. I went from luxury apartments to an old apartment complex that’s been around since the ’80s. I had to downgrade to make it work with these current prices,” Callea said.

According to Rentcafe.com, the updated 2022 average rent price in Tallahassee is $1,496 for 1,053 square feet, which is only around $30 less than the average monthly rent cost in Jacksonville. According to Zippia.com, the median salary for a student worker in Tallahassee is $21,107. As you can see, this raises a problem when most properties require you to make three times the monthly rent.

For senior hospitality and tourism management student Sophia Robino, a spring graduate, and Mitchell Allen, a combination of help from their parents, scholarships, loans and jobs are necessary to comfortably live off campus.

“I have two roommates so that helps out a lot. I have financial aid, Florida Prepaid, Bright Futures, and other scholarships that help me pay for my living expenses. I’m also a server and bartender four to five times a week,” Robino said.

Allen said, “My mom also helped me while I was in undergrad with rent, but since graduating she’s stopped and it’s been all me from my job.”

These students as well as many others in Tallahassee are making things work by any means necessary, but as inflation continues to rise, will college students have the option of finding a home outside of their campus?