Although Ball State requires students to live on campus for their freshman year, many choose to move off campus in the following years. Living in a house or apartment can have its perks — the main being the ability to save money. However, to have the best off-campus living experience, students should follow these tips:
Houses and apartments often ﬁll up quickly. To have a wider selection of living options, it’s best to start looking as soon as you decide you want to move off-campus. Round up your future roommates and start searching in September and October. It’s not uncommon for students to sign a lease for the following year by November. By starting early, you will be sure to get a great house or apartment. Plus, many off-campus housing locations offer cheaper rent the earlier you sign a lease.
There are a ton of resources online to help you find a place to live off-campus. Listed below are a few of our favorites.
1. The Roost Housing Guide - The Roost serves as the premier rental guide for Ball State and Muncie. Here you can find available apartments and rentals throughout Muncie and close to Ball State’s campus.
2. BSU Campus Rentals - BSU Campus Rentals provides you with multiple different types of properties for you to choose from. You can find Legacy Properties, Sublease properties, etc. You’ll also be able to see if any apartments have had a price drop in order to help you save money.
3. BSU Rentals - Confusingly, not the same thing as BSU Campus Rentals. BSU Rentals provides many locations around Muncie for Ball State students to rent property from. By going to their website, you can customize your price range and number of roommates to find what works for you.
It’s important to know not only how much you will be paying in rent each month, but also what utilities are and are not included in the monthly payment. Some homes and apartments may seem cheap on the surface, but the asking price may not include water, gas and/or electricity in the monthly price. Other factors to investigate are whether the costs of internet, cable and trash are included. All of these fees can add up quickly, making a seemingly cheap house much more expensive.
Living in a house or apartment means you will need to bring many items for your kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedroom with you, as well as seeing if the apartment is furnished. Once you sign your lease, sit down with your future roommates to discuss what items will be needed. Then, start looking and buying. Purchasing various items throughout the course of the year rather than a week before you move in will reduce stress and anxiety. You should also split up who is buying what to make sure you and your roommates aren’t buying duplicates.
How to sign a lease
Find your home
You can use The Roost housing guide (ballstatedaily.com/roost) to get an idea of the prices and properties available in Muncie. This will also help you figure out if you need and or want to get an apartment or a house.
How many people?
Figure out who your roommates are and how many bedrooms you’re looking for. Take a little tour around Muncie and see what properties have a “For Rent” sign. Most also list the number of bedrooms.
Ask for a showing
Contact the landlord and let them know you’re interested. They will let you take a look inside the property.
Ask a ton of questions
Be like a parent at orientation. Ask about utilities, parking, maintenance, damage payments, landlord contact info, summer subleasing, nails in the wall ... everything. Don’t just ask a landlord, ask you friends what’s worked for them. Get all the information you can.
Read the lease
Ask a parent or friend to read the lease, too. Make sure to address any questions with the landlord or complex before signing.
Sign the lease
Most places will require you to make a down payment and/or security deposit when you sign. It’s helpful to have all roommates present when signing.
Move in/Setup utilities
Your lease will include a move-in date. You will need to call the utility companies before moving in so everything is ready for your arrival.