‘Early bird specials’ offer advantages to moving students

The time is now for students to begin thinking about their living arrangements for fall 2005.

According to the Florida A&M University housing office, there are 3,355 spaces in FAMU’s housing system. Of those 3,355 available beds, only 1,300 slots are set aside each fall for returning students.

The housing department said the University must make sure it has enough spaces available for the number of students that the admissions office accepts every year. This is a number that can vary greatly from year to year, and the number of accepted students who actually decided to attend FAMU is another wildcard figure that must be considered.

“Our first priority must be to the first-time incoming freshman,” said Oscar Crummity, interim director of the housing department.

This means that most students who presently live on campus will have to make new plans for the next school year. They will join more than 9,000 other FAMU students in a small market of quality affordable apartments.

“The biggest mistake students make is waiting to the last minute to find a place to stay,” said Patrick Darden, a property manager in Tallahassee.

“By finding a rental now, you’ll avoid the annual spring rush.”

The spring rush, as Darden explains it, is the time frame between March and June when the majority of students from all three of Tallahassee’s colleges hunt for apartments.

Right now, managements are offering special leasing rates known as early bird specials. Early bird specials are deals given to renters who sign their leases months in advance.

The early bird rates are of great value to students. For the student, by leasing early, they will have the opportunity to pick from a wider variety of quality living spaces at the most affordable prices.

Darden said that there is a general trend among students who take the initiative to search for an apartment months ahead of time. Those students tend to be the ones who will pay their rent on time, be thoughtful neighbors and an overall pleasure to do business with. For the most part, realtors are willing to offer special deals to attract these types of high quality students to their rental properties.

“The early bird rates vary; I’ve seen people save themselves anywhere from $20-$75 a month,” said Darden, who has been in the Tallahassee real estate market since graduating from Florida State University in 1998.

Another reason students should start their apartment search early is availability. According to the latest Tallahassee market report, taken in October 2003, there are approximately 17,401 rental properties available in the city, but most of those properties are not in the vicinity of FAMU.

For the most part, the apartment market caters to the northern half of the city of Tallahassee. This fact will leave many FAMU students who are without reliable means of transportation in a bind. With TalTran (the public bus system) service concluding every night at 10 p.m. students without cars will be unable to partake in many of the activities that occur on FAMU’s campus at night.

Terrence Hinson, a real estate broker with 20 years experience in Tallahassee said, “A&M is expanding like never before, and demand is just far greater than supply.”

Hinson also said by leasing early, students will be able to obtain a better selection.

“The last thing that you would want to do as a student is to find yourself paying top dollar for a place that usually wouldn’t be worth your time,” he said.

Contact Anthony M. Moore at a_m_moore@hotmail.com